Spiritual GPS (Part 1)
Putting down roots in a new neighborhood comes with a few challenges. One of the biggest challenges revolves around the inability of a GPS to locate our family’s house on a map. How can neighbors come for a visit if there is no map? It’s been fun trying to explain where we live, especially because we don’t know the streets that well, and others have never even heard of our neighborhood! Utilizing landmarks are sometimes helpful, but it’s often more confusing to say, “Keep going straight at the gas station for about a mile, and then take a right by the big oak tree.” With all our technological prowess as a society, sometimes we still cannot find our own house.
If you had a spiritual GPS, would you be able to find where you were going? Some new neighborhoods have popped up in the spiritual realm over recent years, and we may find it difficult to determine our way. For instance, the loss of confidence in the church among many in our culture creates a confusing reality. How do we begin to relate to a person who asks, “What’s the point of church? Why would I want to be a part of just another social institution?” Witnessing to those who find the church as irrelevant can seem as confusing as trying to find a house that is not yet on a map.
Over the next few weeks on these Monday devotionals, I’ll be talking more about our spiritual GPS. Specifically, we’ll examine forces of change which are driving us to explore new paths of ministry. We’ll also look at how some biblical characters dealt with massive culture shifts when they didn’t exactly know where they were going.
For example, the Apostle Paul seems to be one of the ablest persons in Christian history to deal with change. Sometimes, he even turned off his GPS and did some exploring and trail-blazing! Consider when Paul and some friends arrived in the town of Philippi (Acts 16). Their usual plan was to find a local synagogue, and then set up shop to preach and teach about Christ. But there was no synagogue in Philippi! In fact, it seems as though there was not much of a Jewish presence at all in Macedonia.
This predicament was not on any map for Paul and his team, so they decided to visit a local market and had a “chance” encounter with a woman named Lydia, a cloth dealer. The Holy Spirit led a conversation between Paul and Lydia which resulted in not only her conversion to Christ, but also scholars tell us that the door to Christianity opened to the whole of Europe with this one conversation. Isn’t it something that God can use us even when we don’t know exactly where we’re headed?
Let’s be open to the Holy Spirit today as He helps us to find good directions in confusing times. Remember that God is not surprised at all by the things that rock us to the core. God can lead us, even if His guidance takes us to a place that is not on any of our maps.