Four Facets of Flight

    Everyone dreams of being able to fly. Why is that? I believe we are all born with an innate need to be free. We can thank sin for that need. Sin has left the world grounded in the mire of complete self-focus. Sin weighs us down and causes us to try and engineer our own means of achieving flight. That machine we devise to give us flight in our own strength can look like pursuit of wealth, pursuit of fame, living in fear of what others think of you, pursuit of performing for the acceptance of others, pursuit of sexual gratification, pursuit of mind-numbing drugs, and all manner of what I call false flying machines.

    Man’s efforts at forging a way to soar in this life all lead to one final conclusion: the crashing and burning of the individual. Mankind, as great as his achievements might be, was never intended to give us flight over the cares of this world. Since sin is the issue - the weight that drags us all down - sin must be dealt with before true flight can be achieved.

    One of my best friends is a pilot. My friend has flown me to destinations for ministry several times. Each time we fly, I am filled with both a sense of fear and a sense of wonder. Fear over whether this heavy piece of machinery will actually fly and wonder  at the power of God’s beauty coupled with the wonder of how applying the four facets of flight actually help such a weighty contraption be become airborne. My friend has discovered the four facets required to achieve flight, but what is amazing is that by simply applying the principles of flight my friend soars above the cares of the physical world with great ease. Could these principles be God-ordained for application to our spiritual existence? I think so.

    While I am no pilot, I understand the principles of flight on a rudimentary level. I am a man of faith, therefore I understand that by walking in the truth of the application of these principles in a physical sense allows me to attain flight in an aircraft. By the same token, I understand that, by applying the principles of faith to my experience on earth, I can actually soar over the pressures of life and actually use those very pressures to achieve the ability to fly over them!

    In no specific order, the four facets of flight are simply lift, weight, thrust, and drag. When these four facets are brought into balance, flight is achieved in a physical sense. Let’s apply them in a spiritual sense.
    Weight is the force of gravity. It acts in a downward direction—toward the center of the Earth - always directly opposing lift. In a spiritual sense, sin and the pull of the world, human wisdom, is directly opposed to the lifting of the soul into flight.

    Lift is the force that acts at a right angle to the direction of motion through the air. Lift is created by differences in air pressure created as the wing moves through the air. The shape of the wing increases the pressure below the wing, producing lift. Lift is always opposed to weight. So what produces lift in a spiritual sense? What do we use as our set of wings? Faith is like our very own set of wings. Just because we may say we have great faith, flight over the storms of life will never be achieved if we do not spread those wings. As with physical flight, spiritual flight must address all four facets or laws of aerodynamics if we expect to soar.

    Drag is the force that acts opposite to the direction of motion. Drag is caused by friction and differences in air pressure. As an airplane moves forward, the friction of the air it moves through actually works against forward progress. Spiritual drag would be the lies of the enemy and the wisdom of human reason that causes friction and slows down forward motion; temptation, regret, fear; the enemy always opposes our forward motion. Thrust is required to keep forward momentum, but thrust and drag are always opposed to one another.

    Thrust is the force that propels a flying machine in the direction of motion. Engines produce thrust. Thrust and drag are always opposed to one another.  Spiritual Thrust IS the power of God’s Word and the power of His Holy Spirit to move us forward. Things like joy and peace and hope are used of God to give us forward momentum. The enemy is always opposed to our forward motion.
    As when physical flight is achieved, all these four forces - lift, weight, drag, and thrust - must be addressed. Sin weighs us down. Jesus gave us the remedy for sin. The lies and temptations of the enemy try to drag us to a state of standstill. God has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to provide forward thrust.

    In order to achieve spiritual flight, could it be as simple as spreading our wings of faith coupled with the power of God’s Word and Holy Spirit to propel us to heights over sin and over sorrow and over the circumstances of life? Could it be as simple as using the very things that oppose our spiritual flight - weight and resistance of the enemy - to increase the pressure upward beneath those wings and give us the ability to not only fly through but to soar over the storms of life?

    When flying with my friend, I never want to come down. Why? The exhilaration of doing something that defies human logic fills me with wonder and joy! But more importantly, the very act of flight enhances my point of view. From the high places I can see the big picture. From the high places I can see the edge of the storm in the distance and know that it will come to an end. From the high places I can see the destination and realize it is on the horizon and well within reach. From the high places I enjoy a fellowship with a friend based on the sharing of this very experience we are in together. From the high places I actually feel an increase in my faith - the very thing that lifted me to the high places to begin with. And this is all borne of simple faith in and realization that my God is on this flight WITH me!

    Unlike flying in an airplane, dependent upon all manner of knowledge of instruments and air traffic control and regardless of weather or circumstances, I can soar on my wings of faith directly due to the storm, directly due to my circumstances, directly due to my temptations, directly by applying the principles of faith to the principles of flight. Drag will always be opposed to forward thrust. Weight will always be opposed to lift. But the remedy to both drag and weight is to spread my wings of faith and to trust the power of the Word of God to lift me up and move me forward.

    And unlike physical flight that is dependent upon fuel to keep the engine running, our fuel source never runs dry! Because of our faith in Jesus Christ and because of the filling of the Holy Spirit and because of the power and authority of the Word of God, we can refuel in mid-flight as often and as much as needed! Our source never runs dry even - especially during harsh conditions and long flights! Another aspect of flying high with our God is the fact that there is no age limit required to meet the standards of being a pilot! Young and old each have access to the same Source of fuel and each, regardless of age, need but apply the principles of faith to achieve flight in the experience - the living out - of life!

    Isaiah had it right all along didn’t he?

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might
He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NASB

Dennis Jernigan

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