Points to Ponder: Course Correction Needed?
Points to Ponder
Course Correction Needed?
Back in October 1983 Korean Airlines Flight 007 was shot down over Russia. The passenger plane full of innocent people had drifted into Russian airspace as it was making its way from Anchorage, Alaska to Seoul, South Korea. What happened?
Unknown to the flight crew, the computerized flight navigation system contained a one and a half degree routing error. Even at 100 miles out the error was not noticeable. But, as the miles accumulated, the plane's course deviated farther and farther from the proper flight route. Upon entering Russian airspace, they were spotted by radar. Fighter jets pursued the airliner and shot it out of the sky. All lives aboard were lost.
Because of our sin nature, we are born with a life navigation system that contains errors in its program as well. The minor misjudgments, poor choices, and foolish decisions we make may not seem like much right now, but over time it all adds up. Little things do mean a lot. Choosing to be honest even if it does not seem to really matter at the time, following through even though no one else would or has, and choosing to do what is right because it is right - these things add up to a life that is on track. Still we know that as the years pass and we look back, we still see deviations, errors in judgment, and just plain stupidity on our part. We often think that if we'd known then what we know now, we'd have done things differently. I wonder if that is really true. When you think back, you knew what was right, you just did not know or believe the consequences of doing wrong would be that bad. It is comforting to know how much God loves us despite how often we ignore or reject Him.
"While we were still sinners (still doing stupid rebellious things) Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8b)
He did not wait for us to "straighten up and fly right"; He took on the penalty of our faulty life navigation system. He took the shot for us. He went through death so we would not have to. By faith we receive that gift of grace (See Romans 3:23-24, 5:6-8, 6:23, 10:9-10).
If you know this truth and have received it for yourself, you also know that you still have to navigate through your life on earth. The programming is still faculty; you still mess up. It is important to never become too confident in your righteousness. Self-deception catches us off guard when we believe in our faith more than we believe in Jesus Christ.
Remember how Peter proclaimed that he would stand up and die for Jesus if he had to; then within hours he denied he ever knew Him. Peter believed in himself more than he did in Christ.
After the resurrection, He came back to Jesus and knew Him on a whole new level: as the Risen Lord. Then on Pentecost, He was filled with the Holy Spirit. He then was strong enough to face those he once feared and to face death itself; before, he was full of himself; later he was full of the Lord. Yes he was still a faulty imperfect man; but he was a useful tool in God's hand despite himself.
When he was killed, it was not because his own "navigation system" caused him to veer off course. He gave his life willingly, following the course laid out in his heart by the Lord. (Luke 9:23-25)
After the crucifixion, Peter was on a course headed back to his old occupation of fishing. It made sense at the time. However, knowing the Risen Christ corrected that course heading. Now, 2000 years later, we are still reaping the fruit of a man who followed the narrow, more difficult way that leads to life eternal. (Matthew 7:13-14)
How about you? Whom do you follow? What guides your decision making and your priorities? Read Psalm 119 sometime. You can keep your guidance system straight through all kinds of circumstances if you continually fill up with God's word. The more you are in it, the more it will be in you, to admonish and to guide you at crucial times.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word. I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:9-11 NIV)
This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org and is downloaded for your reading pleasure. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit any material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public domain Web site and encourage all readers to visit this site to enjoy similar material.