It’s just a bridge in the same way Everest is just a mountain, or Dempsey was just a fighter, or Patton was just a soldier. The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s most identifiable landmark, was an engineering marvel. Its construction defied all odds, and oddly enough serves as the perfect model for Christian living.

Bridge building is serious business. Hard hats are a must. Danger is a standard operating procedure. There are a million reasons why some bridges collapse while others last for centuries. If that’s not enough, there’s never a shortage of volunteer supervisors to point out the flaws.

The same can be said for growing Christians. Each of us is a walking, talking construction site where God is busy creating a masterpiece; “For we are His workmanship.” Just as bridge construction is no picnic, being “made to the image of His dear Son” is no walk in the park either, but there is a master-plan we can follow.

Take a look and see what I mean; spread out the blueprints of the Golden Gate Bridge, and you’ll notice the similarities between bridge building and growing in Christ.

In 1937—after 20 years of planning and four years of construction—the Golden Gate Bridge was open for business. Every newspaper in America applauded the “World’s Longest Suspension Bridge.” However, the real story was rarely told. The success of the bridge was in its three silent partners: Strength, Flexibility and Foundation.

Strength. Cement roadways, steel railings and massive crossbeams made the bridge’s load heavier than any bridge ever built. To support such massive tonnage, two gigantic cables were created. Each was 3 feet in diameter, incorporated 80,000 miles of woven steel wires, and was draped over the 1.7 mile stretch of Highway 101 separating Marin County and San Francisco. Both of these Herculean ropes have a tensile strength of 200 million pounds. Today, they still carry the distinction as the strongest man-made cords in the world.

Flexibility. Mother Nature never has met a bridge she couldn’t push around. Daily she sweeps through the Golden Gate strait with her bone-jarring winds of 20 to 60 mph. On occasion, she broadsides it with a gust of 100 mph, causing a mid-span sway of 20 feet. At her best, the bridge’s maximum sway is 27 feet. In addition, summer’s heat and winter’s cold will expand and contract the golden steel, raising and lowering the bridge by 10 feet.

Foundation. Holding it all are the two massive towers and their cement platforms—equal to two 25-story buildings. Everything depends upon them. The great south pier, anchored a quarter-mile from shore, sits directly upon the San Andreas Fault line. To ensure the bridge is earthquake proof, the builders blasted and drilled stabilizers 100 feet into the sub-oceanic bedrock. San Francisco may rock and roll, but that bridge won’t.

These design components, which make the Golden Gate Bridge so impressive, are the same dynamics that make our Christian lives effective, too.

Living the life God intends for us requires superhuman strength. Even our best efforts won’t span the gap between who we are and who we should be. That can only be done with power from above. That’s why Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Living the Christian life also requires flexibility. We have to forgive others just as He forgave us.

Living the Christ-like life requires a firm foundation. “God’s solid foundation stands firm.”

Christian living was designed by the Chief Architect Himself. If you’re in need of an extreme makeover, or maybe just a few minor repairs, you’ll find all the help you need in His timeless blueprint, the Bible.

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