“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 16:9 & 3:6).
I’m sure you’ve driven a car with a Global Positioning System (GPS). I remember settling into the passenger’s seat of a fully equipped Lincoln driven by a friend of mine as we were headed to a conference. I had my first taste of what it means to be given on-site, immediate directions from point A to point B by a screen built into a car. You simply punch in your destination, and the GPS does the rest. Mapping out the route on the screen before you, it audibly directs you as you maneuver the wheel: “Turn left on Madison Avenue. Proceed three miles,” and so on.
Today I own my own GPS and it’s located on my phone, and besides being an efficient way to get me where I’m going, it provides a great metaphor for the Christian journey. Here are ten comparisons I’ve found between a GPS and our journey on the Christian path.
First, Start with the end in mind.
When using a GPS, the first thing you need to do is program in your destination. Once you know where you’re going, everything else takes on a clear perspective. Your first task is to be clear on where you’re headed. There may be some detours along the way, but as long as you keep the end in sight, you will get there. I love what Paul writes to the church in Philippi, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
Second, know that your GPS charts a straight course.
The GPS guides you on the most direct route to your destination. The objective is to get you where you want to go as quickly as possible. This is no time for the scenic route! On the Christian journey, you may be tempted to leave the beaten track for the tourist traps along the way, but the straight course will lead you to victory. Paul reminds young Timothy to, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made good your confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).
Third, you need to trust the details of the plan.
If you try second-guessing the GPS, it’ll take you a lot longer to reach your destination! The map may look like the best way to go; you may think you know a shortcut. However, if you waste time putting in your two cents every time the GPS gives you directions, you might as well go it alone, with no guarantees that you’ll make it! Maybe we all need to memorize Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Fourth, believe in the big picture.
There’s no reason to become frustrated or give up halfway to where you’re going. The trip may be a long one, but you know you’re going to arrive. That knowledge frees you to be an optimistic, faith-filled traveler. Paul reminds us, “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7, NKJV). So, be patient and rest in the Lord, He knows what He’s doing.
Fifth, please don’t fret when you get off course.
The beauty of the GPS is that it starts wherever you are. There’s no programmed message that chides you when you make a mistake and leave the path. No matter where you turn, the GPS just keeps charting a straight course. You may make mistakes in life, but Christ reassures you that you don’t need to get bogged down with your problems. Jesus assures us of this in the Gospel of John, “If [you] confess [your] sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive [you of your] sins and purify [you] from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Sixth, remember, your future has more power over you than your past.
The GPS is all about what lies ahead of you. It pulls you toward your destination, and it relentlessly recalibrates until you get there. The detours, wrong turns, and accidental ventures mean nothing to the program. No time is wasted analyzing what went wrong. All energy is spent pointing a line to your destination. Paul said, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14).
Seventh, every point is a new starting place.
No matter where you are in life, You’re always at a point where you can start fresh. The GPS never flashes a warning signal, “Too late to start over. Too many wrong turns.” Today is a new day. Right now, is your first step toward a fulfilling Christian life. The Prophet Isaiah writes, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Eighth, there is always a way to get there.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t get there from here?” Sometimes it’s hard for you to imagine a way to extricate yourself from the mess you’re in and truly achieve your life’s goals. The message of the GPS is that there’s always a way to get there. Wherever you are right now, you can find your way home. Paul declares that very thought, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Ninth, as soon as you’re lost, a plan is being devised to help you.
The GPS doesn’t waste any time. The instant you get off course, the countdown begins to get you back on track. It doesn’t matter that you feel hopelessly lost. A fresh plan is already afoot. I love Paul’s words found in Romans, “When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6–8).
And then finally, you will reach my destination.
When all is said and done, you will get there. That’s the best part. If you start with the end in mind, chart a straight course, and accept each bend in the road as a new beginning, the Christian journey will eventually lead you to victory. Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7).
I very much enjoy my phone GPS, because it helps me get where I need to go. I also enjoy my heavenly GPS, because it also helps me get to where I want to go. So, our vision is set. Our course is charted. Each day, has its potential challenges and heartaches, but remember, today is a fresh starting point on our heavenly journey. I pray you trust in and enjoy your heavenly GPS as well.
In His Hands,
John – HE>i