When basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, as well as seven others, were killed in a helicopter crash, news of this tragedy quickly spread worldwide. Reports would later indicate that air traffic controllers had tried to warn the pilot just minutes before the crash that he was flying too low. Heavy fog was a key factor in this horrible accident.
Think about a time in your life when you may have received a warning signal that you were "flying too low." That is to say, you were flying too far from God and too close to destroying your life. Thankfully, the Lord works in various ways to get our attention when we place our life and our soul in harm's way.
Here are 7 indications you are flying too low:
1) You ignore God's absolute standard, while basing key decisions on your subjective whims and feelings.
The Word of God gives a person a solid foundation upon which to live in a way that pleases God. Apart from Scripture, all we have to go on are personal opinions about right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error. Those who ignore the absolute truth of God's Word are definitely flying too low and are at risk of crashing.
I wrote about this issue previously in the article, "Why Self-Reliance Ultimately Ends in Defeat."
2) You regularly and deliberately violate your conscience and God's commands.
When a person is flying too low, deliberate sin replaces daily obedience. You find yourself choosing to go against your conscience and against God's Word. When believers are flying at a safe level, they take their life of discipleship seriously. They sincerely try to do everything God's way. Scripture describes godly living as "the obedience that comes from faith." (Romans 1:5)
The alternative to godly living is to sear your conscience and harden your heart to the commands of God, as I addressed in the article, "A Seared Conscience No Longer Accuses You."
3) You are living a double-minded life as a believer, or a single-minded life as an unbeliever.
When a Christian is flying too low, he or she is attempting to navigate through the fog of double-minded living. On one hand, you truly want to live for Christ. But on the other hand, you find yourself easily giving into sin over and over again by willful choices. The ease with which you find yourself "feeding your sinful nature" should be a huge red flag that something is terribly amiss. Check out my article, "7 Characteristics of a Double-Minded Believer."
When the person who is flying too low is an unbeliever, he or she is not even considering the claims of Christ and the message of Christianity. Instead, there is a single-minded focus that leaves God completely out of the equation. Of course, single-minded unbelievers do not yet have an ounce of appreciation for what Jesus did on the cross to purchase their redemption.
A double-minded unbeliever, on the other hand, is a person who has seriously started to investigate Christianity and is swaying back and forth between two options: "Should I continue to live without Jesus, or give my life to God and trust Christ for salvation? I am unsure at this point."
4) Scripture has no real significance in your life.
Healthy babies crave milk, and healthy Christians crave God's Word. "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (1 Peter 2:2,3) Jesus was quoting the Old Testament when He said, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)
5) Your prayer life is formal and lacks spiritual vitality.
Christians who have little desire for prayer are flying too low, and the solution is to meditate on God's Word and choose to start praying. Once you get back to the fundamentals of Scripture, prayer and obedience, your prayer life begins to flow freely once again. If your spiritual fervor is at a low point, simply "Drink Until You are Thirsty." This spiritual principle is the opposite of how our bodies work. Drinking until you are thirsty will definitely make a huge difference in your prayer life and your entire life of discipleship.
6) You are not living everyday in the light of eternity.
It is easy to get so wrapped up in our daily duties that we start to lose sight of the big picture. This tendency has a detrimental effect on our spiritual life. After all, since "You Are Already Living in Eternity," it's best to keep in mind that "what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor. 4:18) As missionary C.T. Studd once said, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last."
Think of eternity as all of the sand in the entire world, and this life as one grain of sand. Are you living for eternity, or only for the moment?
7) You ignore the warning signs God is giving you.
When Cain became angry with his brother, Abel, the Lord told him: "If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7)
When a child of God begins to fly too low, the Lord will often provide some warning signs. God loves us and He certainly does not want us to crash and burn. Instead, the Lord is very pleased when we gladly do His will with a cheerful heart. Flying high leads to great peace and spiritual power, whereas flying low leads us straight into the kill zone. Therefore, it's always best to "Kill Your Sin Before It Kills You."
These 7 indicators are intended to warn us when we are in danger. And David's words in Psalm 19 reinforce God's desire that His children walk in righteousness and holiness:
"The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous...By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:9,11-14)
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.