A few weeks ago, while on vacation, my parents decided to visit Monticello, the famous home of Thomas Jefferson. I decided to join them, leaving my husband and daughter to enjoy a few hours together, kayaking on a nearby lake.
As we left the historic estate, we noticed a sign pointing to an orchard. The sign also indicated that there were “great views” to be had from the orchard. We thought that sounded interesting and so my dad turned left onto the driveway.
At first it just seemed to be the typical unpaved road that winds up a mountain. I was on the passenger side and enjoying the ride–until I happened to look directly outside my window.
That was when I noticed that there was a very steep drop to my immediate right without any guard rails whatsoever.
I realized that just a quick turn of the wheel to avoid a rabbit could cause us to tumble down the side of the mountain. It was a little frightening, quite honestly.
Soon enough, we were at the top of the mountain, enjoying that beautiful view surrounded by vineyards and fruit trees. It really was a lovely site.
But, oh, how different the outcome could have been, had my dad not driven very carefully. How tragic it could have been had an unexpected animal bounded across the road or some other unforeseen circumstance taken place. There was no margin for error.
A long time ago, my dad told me the analogy of the cliff as it compares to the Christian life. This analogy came back to me as we climbed up the side of that mountain.
Who, in their right mind, travels as close to the cliff edge as possible? Who sees just how close they can get without falling to their death? No one who has any sense at all. Instead a wise driver travels as close to the mountainside as they can, leaving as much room as possible for the inevitable unexpected surprises. This is the best way to ensure a safe trip up the side of a mountain.
And yet we Christians travel next to the cliff all the time. We take pleasure in seeing just how close we can get to the world without falling into the depths of sin, leaving no margin for error.
I understand why we do this.
Our flesh cries out to us to satisfy it. We have an insatiable desire we think we can control and so we just go as far as we think is in our control. We all do it. I know that what immediately comes to mind are the “big things” like alcoholism, pornography, and drug addictions. But there are a lot more ways that we move to the side of the cliff than these obvious sins–
Entertainment choices, what we choose to wear, our stewardship of time, and how we use our tongue all come to mind.
Are we walking as close to the cliff as we can or are we striving to stay as close to the mountain as possible?
I want to hug the mountainside as I travel this road of life. Whether it leads to criticism and ridicule (which it has) or not, I choose to please my Savior and forsake the world. I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’d rather be sure my entertainment choices, behaviors, and actions please God than to see how much I can get away with and still call myself a Christian. Oh, I still sin and often slip and fall, but I get back up on that mountain path and trudge forth once again. For I know that when I get to the end of my life’s journey–to the top of this mountain– I will enjoy an unbelievable view. One that is unsurpassed and beyond my imagination!
How close to the cliff are you walking?