“If God is your co-pilot change seats!” read the sign at Avondale Presbyterian Church in Charlotte for a week or more this February. This sign amused me because I have long thought of my life as an airplane with God as the pilot and me the co-pilot. There is a lot of back and forth between us, but I defer to him, because he knows me so much better than I know myself–that’s particularly true in the direction I need to go next and what that next step for me would be. He holds the master plan for my life. Since every suggestion he has made to me about my life has been soul-affirming, and since my life has been such an adventure for the last thirty years, I continue to defer to him in everything.
But if God is your co-pilot, I agree with the sign: change seats! If that is true about God’s role in your life, you are not reaping the true benefits of a life lived in the mind of Christ. For whatever reason, you are not trusting that God is loving you, forgiving you and has the best ideas for your life.
It also means that you are in charge, not God. That you will consult him, but decide whether you are willing to do what he tells you or not. You are still in charge which means that the vision for your life is world-based, not God-based. So you will only go so far with God, because that is what your comfort-zone tells you to do.
With this limited dependence on God you may feel like you’re doing what God is calling you to do, but it is just a feeling, not the reality. It is only when we give our whole selves over to God in love that we will reap the benefits of a God-centered life. And what does that mean? Well, Jesus said that we are to love God with all of ourselves—heart, mind, soul and strength.[Matthew 22:37] But that also means we don’t make decisions—large or small—without following God’s direction. We don’t decide how our day or hour or month or year will go without him. We won’t change something in our marriage without running it by him first. We won’t make any life changes without his consent and leading. In fact, it means that we depend on him in everything.
If God is our co-pilot, it means that we will never find out who we truly are. We’ll forever be looking at ourselves and others through the lens of the world. We’ll be in charge of our lives, and will never allow our full selves as we were created to be to be revealed. We won’t achieve the purpose for which we were created. We will live half a life or maybe less.
Jesus promised us life lived abundantly, if we put God above everything else.[John 10:10] I know as I write this how it sounds to people who still are attached to the world. It sounds awful, obedient, unable to decide anything ourselves. It sounds like slavery to our worldly ears, but I can tell you that it feels like freedom! Not dreadful, plodding obedience. It is freedom to be who we truly are! It is the freedom to not wear any masks or to not have to hide our true selves. It is the freedom not to be burdened by attachments to the world or to others’ opinions of who I am or should be. It is the freedom of living outside of the cultural paradigm, unhampered, untethered to an unnatural idea. It is the freedom to do what you were designed to do. It is the freedom of not worrying about your needs being met. It is all this and more.
So change seats! Let God be the pilot and you the co-pilot. The rewards are huge. Any longing you have ever had will be fulfilled. Any gift or talent that has been unexpressed in you will be used. Joy will be the currency of your life as you move into your own true self, experiencing the joy of doing the work you were designed to do. You will notice that your needs are always being met. That you don’t even have to ask for them, they are delivered at the right time in the right place. And you will feel loved in every cell in your body as you seek to love God with all of yourself. And you will naturally be loving of everyone else, because God’s love will flow through you and out of you as a living stream of water. There will no longer be any walls of self-protection that keep out others and God, too.
It is not that there won’t be pain and suffering, we are not promised that. But there will always be God in whatever happens to us, standing with us in the pain, holding us when need be, walking with us through life.
And then there are the other human beings. Suddenly, you will be in a community of followers of Christ who love God with all of themselves. There will be a unbroken connectedness with others in the body of Christ. Nothing else will matter more than that you love God with all of who you are. Family, friends, work, children, all the issues of your life will fall into place as we put God in charge of our lives.
We will no longer be anxious or fearful or angry. We will trust God with all of ourselves, every aspect of our lives. This is what it means to live in the kingdom. All it takes is putting God in the pilot’s seat; be assured—you will reap all these benefits.
Questions to ponder over the week: Is God first in my life or do I pay attention to him irregularly or only in a limited way? Am I ready to risk depending on God in everything? If not, what would I need to do first? If so, do I know how to proceed with God? Do I have a real prayer life? Do I listen for what the Indwelling Spirit of God is telling me? Do I know his voice within me? Or am I drowning out what he wants me to know. Am I willing to change how I live?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who depend on his every word. May we be the people of God who put God first in our lives. May we invite him into every area of our lives, especially the painful, shameful ones.
There’s one more video to come in the Exodus series which previews my book on the Exodus story. Here is the link: www.youtube.com/results….
My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!”, is up on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions.
This week I am asking again a question about your experiences of the Exodus story. Have you had any experiences of union with God or of being in the kingdom of God or of crossing the River Jordan like the Israelites did. It could be a dream or a momentary experience or ??????? I’d love to read your experience. Thank you so much, Pat