Instrument Flight Rules
Any would-be pilot engages in intense, rigorous training and testing before he is ever allowed to fly a commercial airplane, and rightly so. People’s lives depend on a wise and safe operator of the plane in all weather conditions.
Early on in the training, a pilot learns the difference between visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR). As the words might suggest, one refers to the rules of flight when visibility is good, the other, when visibility is hampered in some way. I am told that a licensed pilot can fly when there are good visibility conditions but only IFR certified pilots can fly when there is cloud cover of any kind.
The instrument panel in the cockpit is a highly expensive part of the plane, if not the most expensive. It is absolutely vital that the gage readings are accurate, allowing the pilot to determine the pitch, altitude and speed of the aircraft. The pilot learns to trust the instruments more than his own feelings and perceptions.
The instruments are right, even when he might feel that they are wrong. He may feel he is not flying so fast, but if his instruments indicate otherwise, he must slow down before landing. He may feel a whole number of things in fact, and many times, what he feels might indeed be true, but his training reaffirms to him, over and over again, and then over and over again… that feelings are not safe; they cannot be trusted; the instruments alone are the final guide in all things.
I think it is fairly easy to see how pilot training illustrates the Christian life. Our senses are not dependable guides when it comes to knowing our standing before God. Like the instruments of the cockpit, the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith for the people of God. By it, we determine our doctrine of God, and of His gospel. The Bible is right when our feelings might well suggest other conclusions. God has spoken with clarity in His word. In fact, it is more accurate than any instrument that man can build. The Bible alone is the infallible, inerrant word of God, because God Himself is its author.
In the storms of life, what a safe refuge the word of God is. The Scripture says "for we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. 5:7) We walk by the instrument of God's word rather than by our senses.
When condemnation tries to raise its ugly head, how wonderful it is to know that “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 5:1; 8:1). When we feel we just can’t take anything more that the world might throw at us, how great it is to know that "nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” On and on we can go, checking our instrument (so to speak), to know with total assurance, the word of God is the sure guide for all of life and ministry – not merely necessary, but totally sufficient.
Make your own application... (JS)