Life in the Spirit is a lot like Flying.
I recall when I shot landings in the Piper Warrior (Warrior three-eight-four-niner-four). Amazing that if you follow a certain procedural flow in the cockpit, you get a consistent result. For example, when entering the pattern at Nashua, New Hampshire’s Boire Field, I must enter at pattern altitude, 1200 feet. Then I flow through a series of settings using the acrostic PPFF—Power, Pump, Fuel, Flaps.
Power at entry is set to 2000RPM’s (summer setting–1700 in winter). The pump must be in the ON position. Fuel selector set to the tank with the most fuel. And Flaps set to 1st click—approach setting. Then airspeed must be 70 knots. Finally, trim the airplane. That’s it until abeam of the numbers in the downwind leg.
Then, abeam the numbers, PPFF again—Power to 1700 RPM’s (14-1500 in winter); Pump “On”; Fuel selector—check; Flaps—approach setting. Aircraft should be trimmed to a descent rate of 500ft / minute.
First, our power setting is essential. Too little, we don’t make it to the runway. Too much, we overshoot by coming in too high, too fast. Next, the pump keeps fuel flowing assuring a steady, dependable power setting. Third, we must make sure our supply of fuel does not suddenly end. Therefore, we make certain that the fuel selector is in the setting that points to the tank with the most fuel. Finally, the flaps slow our airspeed so that we can make a steady descent to the runway. The more flaps, the slower the speed, the greater the descent angle available. Under normal conditions, this flow and these settings CONSISTENTLY result in the proper attitude for the airplane to make a perfect, safe landing.
I am struck by the similarities between life in the Spirit and flying. Flying is truly a metaphor for that life. Though, like the airplane, we were made for the journey—to fly—we need to find that safe place to be refreshed and rested for the next flight. Just as the airplane must approach the airport, we must approach God. He is where we want to land and find fuel, maintenance and safe tie –down. When we approach God, what if we were to use that same acrostic-flow. How about PPFF—Power, Pump, Fuel, Flaps.
We use what Power we have to approach God. We set our wills and expend effort to align ourselves with God and approach Him. The Pump is our heart, our passion for Him. We want that in the “on” position. If we are not to run out of Fuel, we need to feed upon the Word. The Word of God, written and spoken, is our bread. We feed upon it and it fuels us. We approach God full of His promises and encouragements.
I often select the passages and promises that are the most meaningful to me over the years of approaching Him. For example, I KNOW that I will meet with Him when I draw near: “Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:8). I have this verse, this principle, memorized and I set my heart to it before I align myself for landing in my Father. Or how about:
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
–Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)
Finally, F for Flaps. Remember the flaps SLOW the aircraft. I need to slow down in order to approach God. We all are far too busy. Our busyness is usually a drivenness, not an agenda given us by God. Does your daily schedule control you or do you control it? God wants our lives to be lived in peace (1 Tim. 2:2; 1 Cor. 14:33; 2 Cor. 13:11; Rom. 14:17; 15:33), not in hustle and bustle. He tells us that that kind of hurried living produces nothing worthwhile (Hag. 1:5-11; Matt. 6:31-33). We must set the flaps of our life to “approach” position.
A HALF-DAY WITH GOD: Clear your schedule for a half-day with Him. Find a way to make Him your priority. Slow down! Let the answer-phone take your calls. Turn off the TV. Get out of the house so you won’t see another thing that needs to be tidied or picked up. Take your Bible, a cold bottle of water or ice tea, get in the car, go to a park with a camp-chair, sit in the shade and SLOW DOWN! Don’t take a walkman or music. Look up at the clouds, listen to the birds, close your eyes and feel the breeze on your face. Sit there in silence for 5 minutes. Then sing! That’s right . . . sing! God’s promise is that you are filled with the Spirit by SINGING (Rom. 15:11; Eph. 5:18-20; Col. 3:16).
Later, open your Bible to a favorite verse or passage (better yet, just recall a favorite verse that you’ve memorized). Roll that verse around in your mind, your heart, your mouth. Think about what it means. Think about how much God wants to meet with you. Thank Him that since you slowed down to draw near to Him you can KNOW that He has drawn near to you (Jam. 4.8).
Before your half-day is complete, you will sense something wonderful. God will be breathing His peace and love into your soul.
A word of CAUTION: Don’t let the enemy lie to you that this time is a waste. Or that you should be accomplishing something constructive. If you listen to The Accuserand believe this lie, then you would have to accuse Jesus of wasting time (Mk. 1:35; Lk 5:16). No, follow your Lord’s example, not the lies of the enemy and our culture. Linger in His presence, like you would lounge in a hot bath. Close your eyes and let His thoughts and love fill you. DO THIS and you will know the marvel of being His child. You have landed safely in Him. You will be refreshed to fly through your life buoyed by the air that is His being and presence.
Power, Pump, Fuel, Flaps–Follow the acrostic-flow for a couple of months and let me know how that works out for you.
©2008, David C Alves