Have you heard the expression ”flying by the seat of your pants”? Living this way can be an adrenaline soaking, exciting, exhilarating experience. However, living by or relying on your own instincts and feelings can also be dangerous, unproductive and occasionally destructive.
I just came back from a three-hour commercial flight and while I was in that jet I found myself looking out the window gazing at the beautiful mountains and changing landscape from 25 thousand feet. When the pilot began his descend to land he flew into a large bank of clouds and misty fog. I realized he was not flying looking out the window but was using all his instruments to land safely. Pilots that can only fly visually do well in blue skies and sunny days, but are grounded when storms are imminent or the sun is setting.
When I was looking out the window into the clouds I lost my sense of direction and point of reference. Flying visually can be treacherous because the pilot’s senses can often be confused, just as I was looking out that window. A pilot that can’t see where he is going may think he flying parallel with the ground when he is actually flying into the ground or into a mountain. This is called “flying by the seat of your pants.”
INSTRUMENT RATED PILOT
An instrument rated pilot is trained not to rely on what he sees or feels but to navigate by looking at and listening to his instruments. A pilot can’t fly by just what he sees because he frequently can’t see anything. Don’t ever get into a plane with a pilot that is not instrument rated. Likewise don’t live your life that way as well!
There is a great spiritual parallel here. Looking back at my life I can see at times when I navigated my life with using just my instincts, feelings, or my senses – I discovered later just how wrong it was. I ended up in a very dangerous places. It felt right at the time, but I occasionally crashed landed –and it was usually destructive. Why would you want to fly just using what you see out of your “windshield of life” as a way to find direction or purpose in your life? Don’t be a “blue sky-fair weather Christian” — unfazed by life until the storms roll your way and clouds of despair block your vision. Without your instruments you will eventually crash-land. Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a pathway that seems right to a man, but in the end it is a road to death”.
OUR HEAVENLY COCKPIT
We have been given an instrument panel that has everything you need to navigate safely through life. We always have access to the instrument of His Word and of His Holy Spirit. How can we go wrong when we fly by these instruments? So “trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding”. No matter what you are flying into— a tough day at work, financial pressures, marital or health issues; always fly by the clear and reliable direction of His Word and by the gentle wind and whisper of His Holy Spirit.
When the storms of life hit you hard, when life’s bumps seem to knock the wind out of your sails, when you want to give up all hope because your road seems too torturous and painful to continue – don’t take your eyes off His instruments. He will get you through it. Living your life as an instrument rated Christian does not guarantee you a smooth and carefree ride, but He will always lead you to where He wants to take you, where His plans for you will take root and grow and as you travel through it He will never leave your side. “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jer 29:11
Is there any better place to be than where He leads us?