Men have been engaged in warfare for endless generations, battles have raged, and men have fought and died on the land, sea and in the air.
During World War I, aircraft were first used as a weapon of war. The simple wood, fabric and wire construction of those early biplanes has developed into modern supersonic swept wing fighters of advanced technology and great sophistication. The cockpit of a modern jet fighter is a confined space filled to capacity with instruments, gauges, knobs, buttons and switches. To the untrained eye it is a complex assembly of high-tech gizmos guaranteed to produce a “wow” response when the cockpit is peered into.
When airborne, the fighter pilot is trained to extract optimum performance from his aircraft. Not only is the pilot operating his aircraft to its limits, but he is also experiencing “G” forces on his body which are many times the force of gravity. He wears a “G suit” that squeezes his lower limbs and abdomen as he “pulls G”, keeping the blood supply in his upper body and brain, thus helping him to retain consciousness.
Pilot navigation must be accurate whilst arming weapons and responding to radio calls. At the same time, he needs to be aware of how his engine is functioning, pressures and temperatures. Also, what is happening on the weather front, where the wind is coming from and what clouds and visibility he is encountering. On top of this he has technical data from his hydraulic, pneumatic and cockpit pressurisation systems to monitor, along with fuel consumption and fuel remaining.
It’s a complex task, yet the pilot also needs to have his eyes out of the “office” as much as possible to know what is happening in the sky around him. To aid him in this the “head-up” display came into being. This projects an image of his essential instruments onto the windscreen in front of him. Now he can maintain the best possible lookout and still know how his aircraft is functioning.
As Christian men we should stand tall and hold our heads up for we are sons of God. We can tune in to the Holy Spirit’s frequency whilst looking out and around at how we might be used as Christ’s ambassadors. Like the fighter pilot, we need a clear vision of the task to which God is directing us and to understand how to use the spiritual weapons with which He has equipped us.
Like the fighter pilot we need to be ready for warfare; not carnal but spiritual. Many men become casualties and are “shot down in flames” because they are not equipped spiritually for the battle that is raging within and around them.
Fighter pilots are dedicated, well trained and equipped for their task. The spiritual battle requires every Christian to be no less dedicated, trained and equipped for the battle to which God has called each one of us.
The fighter pilot’s resources are limited to his own performance and the limits of the technology that surrounds him. We have no such limitations, for we are empowered by the great God of the universe who has the power of the universe at His disposal.
Brian France served in the Royal Air Force Regiment for 15 years until he was injured and invalided out of the RAF. He then attended Theological College, becoming an ordained minister. Today he's the founder of Charisma Christian Ministries.