When I was a kid, I watched a lot of black and white war movies on TV. My parents didn’t seem to care because WWII especially, was a “virtuous war.” The Americans were fighting evil and we were Christians, so of course God was on our side. (And I think he actually was!)
One of the more popular movies was entitled, God is my Co-Pilot. As the title implies, it’s about a fighter pilot who lives through a terrible dog fight with the Japanese, but makes it back because he believes God was right in the seat next to him, protecting him all the way and “talking him in.” The movie wasn’t about theology obviously, but I grew up believing God was my co-pilot and I meet with lots of Christians who still think that.
Here how I’d describe “God-is-my-co-pilot theology.”
“Alright Clare, I have a very important and potentially tough meeting today. Exactly what does it mean to be led by the Holy Spirit in that meeting?”
That’s the question a CEO of a major company posed to me a few years ago over breakfast. He didn’t want the theologically correct answer; he wanted advice in a way he could understand and use. Today! So, here’s what I told him.
This verse reminds me that I can bring God glory by how I live. But the inverse is also true. By not living virtuously, I can actually rob God of the praise he would have received.
A life verse is generally a reminder of who God wants you to be. It’s much like a personal mission statement, but God has written this one. Here are some examples of life verses others have chosen and why I believe they’ve chosen them. (Perhaps you’ll find one for yourself, or share yours with us.)
Thirty years ago, as a new follower of Jesus, I went with several reformed pastors in my city, to the World Conference on the Holy Spirit and Evangelism in New Orleans. Here I was a Dutch Reformed guy, new to serious faith, in the Super Dome surrounded by 40,000 charismatics!
I went to that conference for the same reason I’ve since attended masses, gone to a monastery and attended healing services and evangelistic revivals. Most of my life I’d arrogantly written off other expressions of faith, as being either in error or a bunch of misguided goof balls. As I wrote in The 10 Second Rule:
My people are Dutch. Responsible. Wary of spontaneity. We knew where that led. We’d seen them on Christian TV sitting on gold thrones, with helmets of white hair, jumping up praising the Lord after getting some “word” from him. We were not about to let that happen us – get ourselves bushwhacked by emotion. Ours was a sensible faith.
So, when I had repented of my cultural Christianity, I began my quest to understand why other Christians believed things I didn’t, or worshipped in ways that were really uncomfortable to me.
So, one evening after a long day in the Super Dome, we were discussing what we had heard and seen. I asked the question, “How much bad theology can a born-again Christian believe and still be saved?” (I’ve also since repented of the assumption that all theology I didn’t agree with was “bad.”)