Posted: 9/30/16 at 4:00pm. Post by Gary Chapman
Picture your life as the cockpit of a 787 airliner. When we allow our life to be open to God’s leading, his Holy Spirit comes on board with us. He’s in the cockpit with us. But the central feature of this cockpit is the pilot’s seat. From that chair, all the decisions are made about the path of our life. Those decisions will shape the person we will become, how we live, and yes, whether we will know abundant life or not.
Whoever is in the chair makes the decisions. Now, I can’t speak for you. But, my natural inclination and arrogant human nature lead me, on many occasions, to trust myself, more than God, to chart the path of my life. That attitude, alone, is the epitome of our sinful nature.
Too often, we relegate Christ to a corner of the cockpit. “Spirit of God, I’m glad to have you on board with me. But right now I’m doing okay. You just stand over there in the corner and if I need you, I’ll call.” Having him in our life provides some peace. But to yield total control to him is another matter. Then we marvel at how often we “crash and burn” when left to make our own decisions.
When we trust our future to Jesus, our eternal destiny is sealed; we are, now and forevermore, part of God’s family. Yet, critical as that decision may be, our salvation has a present dimension, too. Some believers are so preoccupied with life after death that we neglect God’s intent for life here and now, one as full as we can know short of eternity with God in heaven.
But let me be very upfront here. Accessing abundant life is difficult for us for one simple reason and one only. How we struggle with submission to anyone or anything, including God. It’s a seemingly bizarre notion that runs counter to the self–reliant mindset of our culture. We may be willing to acknowledge God as our Creator and Savior. Maybe. The harder choice for us is allowing him control of our day to day existence.
Biblical submission often gets an unfairly bad rap. Keep in mind, though, we’re not talking about submission to a religion, church, or body of doctrine. And it’s not as if we have no choice but blind surrender. Rather, it’s a reasoned choice to trust our daily existence to God, based on a history of him coming through for us in the past.
More specifically, this submission is not a one–time decision to trust God. Each and every situation we encounter creates another choice for us — will I submit this time, too? Biblical submission is day by day, moment by moment obedience to a God who loves us more than we can imagine and wants only the best for us.
True confession: Now in the latter stages of life, I fear I’ve missed much abundant life simply because of my desire to be in control. But, ironic as it may seem, I’m beginning to understand that I am most free to be all I can be when I finally do submit to God’s direction. I can do it my way and know, perhaps, some of the comfort and pleasure of this life. But, more often than not, I end up feeling more frustrated, stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed than joyous. The wiser move is for me to step back in to that submissive relationship with God.
Abundant living happens as a byproduct of life in the Spirit. We access this longed–for joy only by submitting to the control of God’s Spirit in our life. “I give up, Lord. I’ve tried it my way. Please take your rightful place in the pilot’s seat.”
Dr. Gary A. Chapman was involved in leadership training with the BGAV prior to his retitrement. He is a certified life coach who lives in Roanoke.