Sitting beside the retired 747 pilot in a single engine Cessna, I immediately froze upon hearing his disturbing words: “I am going to let go of the yoke now. You will be flying the plane.”
His patronizing comment, “you will do just fine,” was not very reassuring.
I thought this was supposed to be a joy ride, not a recruitment tool for Flight School 101. Nevertheless, I am still here today in spite of his later insistence to stall the plane, just so that I could experience being propelled toward the ground at some insane speed. His goal? Relieve any deep-seated fear I might possess about a plane stalling!
What I did learn that day was the importance of the flight instruments. A pilot does not check just one gauge if he hopes to arrive at his destination. Rather, the cockpit contains a whole slew of instruments such as an altimeter, a magnetic compass, an airspeed indicator and an attitude indicator.
Writing to the early Christians, Peter provided them and us with flight instruments to ensure we will arrive at receiving a rich welcome into “the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11, NET.)
Although God has provided everything necessary for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), a saved individual might deviate from a godly flight path thereby leaving Christ far behind.
To prevent such a falling away and to ensure we receive the promises contained in God’s calling and in his having chosen us, Peter counsels Christians to make every effort to stay on course by closely monitoring their flight gauges (2 Peter 1:10).
If you find Christians who have fallen away from serving Christ, I can show you individuals who did not make every effort to pay attention to their instrument panel. At some point, the forgiveness they had received slipped from their view as their lives adopted another direction.
Maybe a crisis was the initial impetus for faith faltering, but no attention was paid to the warning light. Or perhaps self-control failed or godliness floundered because they succumbed to that insidious wedge known as temptation.
Embarrassed or feeling guilty, they began to forsake the assembly cutting themselves off from encouragement and attitude correction.
To follow this avionics analogy, since God has provided the plane, all the fuel, the flight plan, and even food for the journey, Peter commands that we pay attention to the cockpit instruments.
“For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love” (2 Peter 1:5-7).
Peter promised we will arrive at the goal, if we will remain diligent about staying on course. This is not complicated. This is a matter of our heart.