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"All Systems Go?"

When I was young, the days of space flight were just beginning. I grew up with Apollo; man's missions to the moon. The Space Shuttle, Sky- lab and International Space Station were still many years away.

Especially in the early days the Apollo launches were huge events. TV only had three stations back then and it was common to have the launches fully covered by all three networks. For an hour prior to launch, the TV screen showed the Apollo Saturn V sitting on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral spewing white liquid oxygen vapor. Sometimes there were background interviews with key NASA people explaining the launch, but often there was just the image of the rocket and the audio of the closed circuit communications of the launch controllers.

As the launch timer counted down the flight director would interrogate each station chief over the closed circuit voice communication system. As a boy I was fascinated with the arcane jargon of the various flight system acronyms called off, one after the other. "FDO? ... Go. LES? ... Go. Guidance? ... Go Flight. FTS? ... Go.? Every system, every switch, valve, buckle and boldt that could fail and needed monitoring was checked and cleared before those final spine tingling words, "All systems go. This is the flight director, we are go for launch."

Aren't you glad our daily activities are not that carefully scripted? Still, there is great value in a careful periodic examination of our own lives. I currently hold a medical certificate required by the FAA. A physical examination of nearly every part of me is required every two years. Commercial truck drivers and a few other occupations require such exams. For your own health, once you are past a certain age, most family doctors want to do a complete physical on you. They will look you over, ask questions and take blood to run several tests. They hope to find nothing wrong, but if there is something amiss, it needs to be found and treated as early as possible.

In 2 Corinthians 12:4, Paul urged the brethren to "examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves." What would it be like to have a thorough "spiritual physical?" Imagine going over your life, item by item, taking inventory of your spiritual condition. Like our bodies, our spiritual health does not always continue unchanged.

The whole point of the checklist concept that began our discussion is the fact that NASA knows that EVERY important system of the rocket must work properly or disaster is likely. The extensive checklist procedures are to insure that nothing is overlooked that can affect the flight in an adverse way. Yet Christians, parents, spouses, etc. usually do not function that way. There are times when major issues are ignored, when warning signs are intentionally disregarded and destructive practices continued.

What would a "comprehensive spiritual evaluation" look like? Well it could be a very long list! Just like no physical would be complete without the basics of weight, height, blood pressure, temperature and such, some basic data would be needed like - -

  • Do you regularly attend all worship services and Bible Classes of the church? (Heb. 10:24-25) "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another..." ·

  • Do you have an individual plan for Bible Study and do you follow it? (2 Tim. 2:15) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

  • What percentage of your income do you thankfully return to God with recognition of his blessings on you? (2 Cor. 9:6-8) "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you ... may have an abundance for every good work."

  • Do you exhibit the qualities in your life that show you are being led by the instructions given by the Holy Spirit in scripture? (Gal. 5:22-24) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

There are many such questions needed to probe our spiritual health. Just like our physical bodies, our spiritual condition is subject to disease, disuse and the effects of aging. Are you sure your "faith" is healthy? Are all of our spiritual systems good to go? Would our "launch" today into the home of God be put on hold, or even scrubbed, or would we safely reach orbit? Maybe now would be a good time to "examine ourselves."

- Tim Orbison


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