RELY ON YOUR INSTRUMENTS
WE MUST PAY THE MOST CAREFUL ATTENTION, THEREFORE, TO WHAT WE HAVE HEARD SO THAT WE DO NOT DRIFT.
I knew it was coming, but I still didn’t feel ready. “Ok, it’s time to put on your visor.” As I pulled the visor over my face and everything outside disappeared from sight, my palms became sweaty and my heart began to race. I thought I’d be able to do it—that I could trust my senses without being able to see the horizon for reference, without being able to look at the plane’s instruments to guide me. I felt the plane moving left and right, up and down beneath me—my instructor’s attempt to disorient my senses. I paid close attention to every turn, taking careful mental notes of our heading, pitch, and roll, not able to see anything past the inside of the visor. After a few minutes, the question I’d been waiting for finally came: “So Lindsay, are we flying level?” I tried to recount our movements, took stock of what I could feel, and gave him my answer: “Yes.” He said, “Lift up your visor.” I was greeted with a clear view of the horizon…cutting diagonally across the plane’s windshield.
There’s this fascinating phenomenon that happens when flying through clouds where your eyes (which aren’t able to see much of anything outside the plane) and your ears (which have a delayed response) can give you conflicting information. It is possible for even the most experienced pilots to become confused and to start flying sideways or even nosedive without realizing it—if they are not referencing and relying on their instruments to guide them when they cannot see. Ultimately, the only way to safeguard against this natural limitation of the human body is for a pilot to rely on his or her instruments.
The Danger of Drift
Just like trying to fly through fog and clouds in a plane without instruments led me to lose my way in the sky, so too the fog of life—whether suffering or persecution, ease or perceived security, distraction or busyness, a failure to confess and turn away from sin or the desire to fit in with our culture—can lead us to drift away from our ultimate hope in Christ and his salvation. We tend to think we are impervious to drifting. At least I do. No one wants to think that the warnings apply to them. But the verse we are memorizing together this month is a warning, the first in a series of warnings in the book of Hebrews, and we need to take it seriously. We think we can coast on what we’ve learned in the past about the Lord without continuing to intentionally abide, but not start to grow distant. We think we can watch whatever is popular, but not become calloused to sin. We think we can spend hours scrolling online, but not be tempted to be discontent or distracted. But here’s the thing: what we are paying the most careful attention to is what we will head toward. When we stop fixing our eyes on Jesus, we quickly become disoriented, and we can start to nosedive so, so fast.
ON THE PODCASTIn this week's episode, Vera takes a look at 4 common things we are tempted to pay the most careful attention to, and encourages us to re-anchor ourselves to the truth of Jesus.
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
Trust Your Instruments
So if we know that drifting is dangerous for our souls, what can we do to stop it? What are some of the instruments that God offers to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and the reality of our salvation?
The Holy Spirit
Most foundational, he has given us himself. If you have trusted in Jesus alone for salvation, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. He’s the one who convicts us and encourages us and powerfully equips us as we navigate our day-to-day lives.
God has also given us the Bible—his very words. This is how we know who Jesus is and grow in our understanding of and love for him. This is the “pay the most careful attention to what you have heard” in our verse. Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” There have been times in my life where I’ve read and listened to far more about Scripture than I have read and listened to Scripture. If I am not reading the Bible itself alongside those resources, I am missing the truly life-giving thing. Good books are so helpful (and if you are looking for some recommendations, ask your pastor, or shoot me an email!), but nothing—nothing—can replace the Word of God.
Another instrument we’ve been given is prayer. Later in the book of Hebrews, we read: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” As we talk to God to praise him, confess sin, and bring him our cares, we talk to a God who has compassion and love for us, and who will recalibrate our hearts and minds to be rightly oriented instead of getting caught up in the many things that are constantly vying for our attention.
When we are saved, we also become part of God’s spiritual family, the church. He has given us one another to meet together with, to love, to bear each others’ burdens, to pray, and to encourage each other to fix our eyes on Jesus. And this is precisely the kind of support we need to keep us on course.
So, when the clouds of life obstruct our view and confuse our senses, we can rely on the instruments that God has graciously given us. I need this reminder in my own life, and maybe you do today too: God has given us the Holy Spirit, his Word, prayer, and his church to help us keep our focus on Jesus and the salvation he has won for us. He is the one “who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 1:24).
Thanks for reading,
Meet LINDSAY TULLY
Lindsay is the newest member of the Dwell team, working as an editor and guest writer. She and her husband, Matt, live in Chicagoland with their three kids.
We'd love to see you around.