The instructor at a recent meeting of the local canoe club presented three navigational aids: a map, a compass, and a GPS. He then challenged the members present with a question: If you were able to take only one of the three on a trip, which one would it be?
He went on to commend those who chose the map, and this on the very evening when the topic which he was presenting was "How to use a GPS".
He pointed out that while the technological advances which allow us to use the Global Positioning System, or GPS, offer great advantages in determining one's position on the surface of the earth, there are inherent dangers. GPS devices can be programmed with the wrong or outdated maps, they usually suffer greatly when dropped in water, and they are dependent on batteries which have finite life and always die.
A good map, especially a topographical one, however, allows one not only to navigate, but also to have in plain view some idea of what is to be encountered in the country through which one is travelling.
There have been several stories widely reported of individuals following a GPS only to be led into impassable trails thick with snow, or to the end of roads at the edge of rivers without bridges. Some have even died because they blindly followed a GPS device, without taking into account that the device might be wrong.
All of this brings to mind the wise advice which God gives us concerning spirits:
1 John 4:1 – Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (NIV)
It may be true that the Holy Spirit can function like a GPS, as suggested in yesterday's devotional, in guiding us through new territory, and it is wonderful when the Holy Spirit leads us into new experiences of God's truth and love. It is important, though, that we test what "the spirit" says against the clear roadmap of Scripture to ensure that "the spirit" is in fact the Spirit who leads us to Jesus and in the way of Jesus. We are warned further in John's first epistle that "every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God." (1 John 4:3 NIV)
Prayer: Gracious and all-knowing God, as we welcome the possibilities of the GPS, may we hold onto our trusty maps. As we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, may we hold onto Your written Word, testifying to Jesus, the living Word. In His name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Thine Be The Glory" (Lyrics)