In the Air Force my job was to teach men to fly primary jets. There are three phases to undergraduate pilot training, or there were, contact, instruments, and formation. Primary jets, then, was in the T-37. It is a subsonic aircraft with a top airspeed of around 287 knots. That may seem fast to you but it isn’t really. In the next phase the student went to T-38s, I do not remember the top speed but on takeoff it accelerated to 300 knots in about 15 seconds. So, much faster.
It took some time for a student to get ahead of the aircraft. That means that he was thinking about what he was going to do long before he actually was going to do it. All of the maneuvers we taught had precise parameters that had to be met. There were multiple reasons, one of which was that in instrument flight, one had to maintain altitude, heading, and airspeed precisely to safely execute an instrument approach. The reality was and still is that humans are not all that precise. So flying, and flying well, was learning to more quickly recognize errors and move to effectively and safely correct them. Truthfully, flying well was continual and consistent error correction.
Walking with Christ, following Him, is as well.
One of my mentors says that the Christian life is a constant journey out of idolatry into true worship. He meant that like the students I was training to fly, as believers there are things that we believe, hold as strong convictions, that are simply errors. We have to continually measure what we believe, even what we are taught, against the Word of God.
Individually and in the Body
It happened in my church this morning. One of our associate pastors corrected something another associate said a few weeks ago. It wasn’t overt, but it was a correction nonetheless. Pricilla and Aquila, pulled Apollos aside after he spoke in Ephesus and corrected his errors, Acts 18:24 – 28. Paul publically corrected Peter in Galatia when he violated the position of the Church on the inclusion of Gentiles, Galatians 2:11 – 21.
2 Timothy 2:15 reminds us that we are to handle the Word of God accurately. We will not always do so. It is important that we both listen to and give correction when someone shares something that does not align with the Word of God. Of course the presupposition for that assignment is that we are engaged in the Word at a deep enough level that we are able to both recognize error and able to show from the Word how to correct it.