Pilot in cockpit

The modern jet on the runway was a beauty. It was equipped with the latest technology and weaponry. The jet could fly at supersonic speeds, and quickly race to great heights. If an enemy plane were in the vicinity, the jet’s pilot could destroy that plane miles away, before the plane’s pilot could even see him.

An Air Force pilot climbed into the jet and off he flew, leaving the earth far behind as he soared above the clouds. Although no one was looking, the pilot straightened himself in his seat. He was naturally proud of his jet, and of himself for qualifying to fly such a sophisticated mode of transportation.

After he reached cruising altitude, the pilot heard a strange noise. He took off his helmet, and recognized the noise–it sounded like someone gnawing on rubber or plastic. Peering down below the instrument panel, to his horror the pilot saw a rat, out of his reach and gnawing on the main electrical wire between the jet’s controls and its engine. If the rat were to cut through that line, the jet would careen out of control, and crash immediately.

The pilot’s first instinct was to descend–an emergency landing. But he had flown so far that there was not enough time to land. So he decided to ascend–maybe the rat couldn’t survive at a higher altitude. The pilot put on his oxygen mask, boosted power to the jet’s engine, and quickly climbed as high as he could go. Soon the gnawing sound ended. When the pilot landed safely, he found the rat — dead.

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How Does This Apply to Our Lives?

“If you lie down with dogs, you will rise with fleas.” That saying holds much truth, and so does this story.

The pilot was highly trained, at the top of his profession. His equipment was the best that technology could provide. But his safety was threatened by the appetite of one of the most primitive of animals — a rat.

Like the jet pilot, we live in a world of high technology. Robots make our clothes, microwave ovens cook our food, cordless telephones carry our voices, and computers analyze our cars. And yet our lives are also affected by many things people faced centuries ago. Hate, jealousy, and dishonesty continue to exist. We are still plagued by temptations to strike out in anger, cut corners to get ahead, and toy with the truth.

And something else has not changed: most people say they want to be delivered from temptations, but really would like to keep in touch with them. You see, we know certain things are wrong, yet we still flirt with them. As our power of resistance weakens, we think that one small compromise of our principles won’t matter. But it does. Lying down with dogs has unhealthy results, and so does compromising with wrong.

Take care to avoid being lured into moral and ethical trouble. Build a wall of protection around your life by shunning anything that promotes or gives credibility to unwholesome attitudes. Read Scripture, meditate upon its truths, and do your best to live by them.

Those steps will lead you to new spiritual altitudes. Just as the hungry rat could not survive at high altitudes, sinful appetites cannot survive at such spiritual heights.

“The righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.” Job 17:9