[forthright] Navigating your spiritual life

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2011 04:32:17 -0700 (PDT)
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Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: HANDS-ON FAITH

Navigating your spiritual life
 by Barry Newton

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 despite his insistence that I stall
the plane, just so I could experience being propelled
toward the ground at some insane speed. His goal?
Relieve any deeply-seeded 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.

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