I have a friend who flies jets and is an accomplished pilot. His accomplishments didn’t happen overnight; it took years of hard work, study, discipline and training to attain to the position he now holds. My friend, Shawn shared his instrument rating training experience with me and I was amazed at how it related to the normal Christian life. In his early experience as a pilot, he learned to fly by sight and basic instrumentation, but this was only the beginning. The “blue sky fliers” are great pilots in good weather and on sunny days, but are ultimately grounded if conditions worsen.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because so many of us are “blue sky Christians” and soar through life unabated until the storm clouds of despair roll in and ground us. Just as pilots who are not instrument-rated are grounded because of dense fog or the darkness of night when familiar landmarks can’t be seen, so it is with Christians who are not instrument-rated in the Word of God. We are grounded.
My friend told me of the countless hours he trained and learned bits and pieces as he went. However, the bits and pieces didn’t really work correctly until he was able to put them all together to form an exact pattern and purpose for everything involved. How true this application is in our daily walk with God, we have bits and pieces but seldom seem to be able to get it all to fit. This fitting will come about when we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide us into all truth.
The map of God’s Word is like a thousand-piece puzzle; one piece is blue, another is green, while still another may be brown. This can be confusing unless we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. The map of God’s Word appears to be a complicated puzzle, but the Holy Spirit will reveal Himself as the picture on the front of the puzzle box. He will say, “Look at the picture on the box so you can see how the pieces fit properly.” The Word and the Guide must work together for truth to be revealed.
Shawn also said that to acquire an instrument rating status, you must take a test where your vision is blocked. Does this sound a lot like 2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight.) A test is taken with blinders on to block out your peripheral vision and a visor is placed above your eyes to limit your vision to only the instrument panel. Then you must complete flights using only your instruments as your map and compass. You can’t go by what you feel because it may cost you your life and you can’t go by what you see because you can’t see. You may feel as though you’re flying upside down, but what do the instruments show? The flight instructor will tell you to look and listen to your instruments and “Just fly the plane.” Don’t go by your natural senses; fly it by faith in the map and the compass.
This is what God desires for His children. He wants them to be “instrument-rated Christians” who will soar with Him by using the “map of His word and the compass of His Holy Spirit.” You may not feel like you’re saved, healed, delivered or worthy of anything Christ has done for you, but “just fly the plane.”
Pastor Hal Steenson