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  • Pastor Matthew Chester

Fatal Distractions

It was a beautiful summer afternoon some years ago at the Naval Air Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland. The U.S. Navy’s newest jet fighter, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat with both afterburners blazing soars from the runway for a test flight. The first portion of the flight was to be a practice session for an upcoming Armed Forces day flight demonstration. The practice session was designed to be conducted over the Chesapeake Bay adjacent to and in full view from the air station.

The F-14 pilot began his run-in over the bay on the designated heading parallel to the reviewing stand located on the shoreline. A few miles out from the reviewing stand he began his descent to the desired minimum altitude of a few hundred feet.

He double-checked that his flight path will keep him over the water and not endanger any of the spectators on the shoreline. Everything looked good so he lights both afterburners and continued his descent in preparation for a low altitude high-speed fly-by and a vertical climb in front of the reviewing stand.

However, at that precise moment, something in the cockpit distracted the pilot's focus and attention. As the crowd watched in horror, the F-14 never broke its descent but continued and flew right into the water killing the pilot and destroying the jet in a huge plume of water.

A momentary distraction of some sort resulted in the pilot breaking his concentration and resulted in him not seeing the water and certain death approaching.

Distractions and loss of focus in our spiritual life, which we may not even be aware of (like the F-14 pilot), can have profound implications for our lives as well. Scripture exhorts us to "fix your eyes on Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith." (He 3:1) It is clear that God the Father intended His son Jesus to be the center of all things, with everything under His lordship.

Jesus is to be the center of all our plans, programs, prayers, events, devotions, etc. He is to be not merely first in our lives. He is to be our life! He is not a footnote, an addendum; He is the whole story.

Jesus is a jealous God and He wants to have nothing between us. He wants to love us directly with no one or thing between us. He wants to possess us fully. God the Father expects us to have an undistracted, blazing passion and adoration for His son Jesus.

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