As I looked out of my kitchen window sometime this morning, I saw a helicopter flying across which is a fairly normal sight from any window in my house. But as I looked up ahead, I saw something smaller flying in the same direction but higher in altitude – an aeroplane. In comparison, the helicopter looked bigger than the aeroplane and seemed to move faster too, and soon enough the helicopter was out of my sight, but I could see the aeroplane move slowly until it disappeared into the clouds.
As a former engineer who has worked both on land and sea, having to travel much to get around, I have had my fair share of helicopter rides and aeroplane journies, too many to count. So from experience, I know which of them is a bigger vessel and which is faster too. If I had asked my four-year-old daughter which of them was bigger and faster plainly from what I had seen, she would have said the helicopter was bigger and faster than the aeroplane, and I would understand her reasoning behind her conclusion, because, from face value, that is what it looked like.
So many lessons jump at me when I think about what I saw this morning, the most obvious being this:
THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE.
And underlying this lesson is another:
WISDOM IS THE PATH ON WHICH TRUTH LEADS ONE TO FREEDOM.
To me, these lessons connect beautifully as it is wisdom which allows one to discern what really is from what it appears to be, and the knowledge of that truth allows one live in freedom, far from the deception of evil. Because of the wisdom my experience gave me, I can confidently tell anyone who cares to know, that even though it seems like the helicopter is bigger and faster, it really isn’t. That is Truth. That is Freedom.
Another lesson that jumps out is something the Lord has been speaking to me about for a while. I have honestly tried to write about it a few times but couldn’t find the words. The view from my kitchen window this morning was the Lord bring it back but in HD.
Then we will no longer be babies. We will not be tossed about like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not be influenced by every new teaching we hear from people who are trying to fool us. They make plans and try any kind of trick to fool people into following the wrong path. No! Speaking the truth with love, we will GROW UP in every way into Christ, who is the head. – Ephesians 4:14-15
The Lord has been speaking to me about something He called The Trajectory of the Spiritual Life. Jesus, in His invitation to those who are yet to experience the freedom He gives, said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He calls us to come. But when we answer that call and come to Him, He then calls us to come up higher in our walk with Him. Our walk of faith is not characterized by a straight path on a plateau, it is more of a journey up a mountain where each step should lead to an increased altitude, where we become transform every moment as our minds are renewed by the Word and the influence of the person of Jesus through His Spirit. The trajectory of the spiritual life is one of increasing altitude, and as I saw the aeroplane move slowly high in the clouds in comparison to the helicopter who seems to move swiftly, I understood why God requires us to come up higher in Him:
WE WILL COVER MORE GROUND.
The helicopter might have seemed to move quickly and out of my view, but we know that at the altitude the aeroplane was travelling, it was covering much more ground than the helicopter was. When we fix our minds on things of the earth, we become weighed down and are unable to accomplish all that has been purposed for us. When our hearts are set on things below, we are unable to conquer as much territory as we would if our focus remained above, in the heart of God. There is less reaching out for those who are lost when we keep our eyes on our pews and not out the front door of the church. Many people around us never hear about the salvation Jesus gives because we are focused only on our earthly reputation: Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. John 12:42-43.
This is God’s call to us: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1.
The only way is UP!
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” – Isaiah 55:8-9
From the ground looking up, everything close looks bigger than everything far away, and everything close seems faster than anything far away. Isn’t that how men view God? We think He is small and slow, so we jump around trying to act like we are more powerful and can achieve a lot more than He can, and a lot quicker too. But He calls us to come up higher so that we might understand who He really is. When we come up higher,
WE WILL KNOW GOD’S GREATNESS.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in Heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’” – Revelation 4:1
There’s something about having a bird’s eye view. You only see the big picture when you are high up. Many times in our lives we go through certain things that attempt to shake our faith or cause us to complain or doubt the faithfulness of God, but we forget that He has the best view from the top. Our lives are like a tapestry He weaves with eternity in mind, and everything adds up, we just have to trust Him. That is why He calls us to come up to where He is, to the place where we begin to understand His mind and see His heart up close, just like Jesus did when He set before Him eternity as He journeyed to the cross. The cross, only a moment compared to the eternal resurrected life and the reconciliation of mankind to God. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6-7
WE SEE CLEARER FROM THE TOP.
“The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below.” – Proverbs 15:24
When I think about the power produced by the engines of an aeroplane to break the barriers that should naturally hinder flight, I think about the power the Holy Spirit gives us to live above the powers of sin in our lives.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:5-10
As we travel upward in the spirit, we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to break the old natural barriers that once characterized our lives and live above the desires that threaten to send us to hell.
The greatest spiritual crisis comes when a person has to move a little farther on in his faith than the beliefs he has already accepted. – Oswald Chambers
We will encounter forces that try to hinder us from going higher in God, forces that might even be driven by our own unbelief. But nothing is impossible for and with God. If He calls us to come up higher, He has surely made available everything that is needed for that journey. When our desire is to go high in Him, He provides all that is necessary to achieve it, just the way aeroplanes are designed to fly higher and farther than helicopters.
“And they heard a loud voice from Heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to Heaven in a cloud . . . ” Revelation 11:12