I’m thankful my life is in God’s hands—I certainly wouldn’t entrust it to anyone else. Over the past several months, you may have heard of the air traffic controllers whose errors nearly caused aircraft collisions. Back in February, an air traffic controller error almost led to the collision of a passenger jet with two Air Force transport planes southeast of New York City. In late April, another collision was barely avoided when air traffic controllers aborted the landing of the plane which carried First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden at Andrews Air Force Base.

After investigating the incidents, the Federal Aviation Administration discovered many air traffic controllers have not been following FAA guidelines. Some have fallen asleep on their posts. One even watched a video during his shift. If you were a pilot, how would you feel landing at an airport with a negligent air traffic controller?

If I am going to rely upon someone to give me directions, I want to first make sure they know what they’re doing. I expect them to either show me a diagram or reference book which proves the accuracy of their advice. And I want to see proof that the method they advocate is working for them. After all, if it isn’t working for you, why should I try it?

We ought to apply this discernment to spiritual leadership. Many spiritual “air traffic controllers” are setting people up for disaster by smooth talk which does nothing more than tickle the ears. There is often little or no Biblical support for the spiritual advice which is given. Worst of all, these people demonstrate no proof that the same principles they espouse are working to transform their own lives. They aren’t following their own advice, and they’re leading many astray.

Everyone needs directions. But before you follow, make sure you are being guided in accordance with the truth of God’s Word. If you take care to compare every external guidepost with the truth contained herein, you will have a safe flight.

The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things – the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit. — Samuel Johnson

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.