As we approach 2017, with all the unknowns it has for us, we need to remember God’s word to us. We live in a time when we are constantly bombarded with information way beyond what the world has ever experienced before. Everywhere we look, there is no lack of information. We hear it on the radio, we see it on television, we read it in books and magazines, and we find it in the information storehouse we call the Internet. It’s everywhere we want to look or give our attention to, the good and the bad, the true and the false, and it’s up to us which we will embrace and which we will discard or discount.
As we navigate through all this information that is at our fingertips and bombarding our senses, to distinguish between what is right and true, we need to remember that it’s not always clear-cut. The most dangerous information out there is that which is not clear-cut, “gray area” as some would call it. In this field of life we live in, some of the most dangerous mines that seek to destroy us is found in this “gray area” of information. How can we navigate around them without getting blown up, especially when there is so much false and twisted information out there? To do so, we need both a map and a compass, both of which is found in what we call the Bible.
A person that goes on a long journey hiking to a destination, or a person seeking to sail across the oceans and seas of the world, or a person taking flight in a jet from one country to another, they all need a map of sorts with a compass. Without a map, the compass is useless not knowing where to point you. Without a compass, the map is useless because it can’t keep you on course. The Bible gives us a map to our eternal destination in heaven, and it also provides us a compass to help us stay on course, which also gives us things to look for that would indicate we are getting off course.
When you use a map, it’s important that you make sure you have the latest most updated map possible. Without that, you may encounter times when the map will direct you down a road that no longer exists, or it won’t have you go down a recently added road that would be easier to travel. The Bible is the latest update God has for us, and it will never be outdated. In Psalms 119:105, we read that the word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths. The Bible shines a light both with where our feet are, as well as the path we are traveling. To go through life without the Bible to light your way is like a blind man trying to hike across a mountain range to a specific destination, especially without a guide of any kind. It’s just not going to work, and it will lead to nowhere but destruction.
To properly use a compass, you need to make sure it is calibrated correctly. An uncalibrated compass will lead you somewhere different from where you were intending to go. You might think you’re going north-east because the compass is telling you that, but because it’s not calibrated you are actually going north-west, far from where you’re wanting to go. The Bible is our compass, perfectly and permanently calibrated to the heart, mind, and will of God, and it never needs to be recalibrated. As our compass, not only does it point us in the direction we are to go in, but it also shows us when we’re starting to get off course. With a compass, if you are wanting to go south, the dial will show you if you start going south-east, and it will help you get your bearings and start heading south once again. The Bible, if you study and pay attention to it, will with the leading of the Holy Spirit let you know when you start getting off track, and it will help you get your bearings and make the necessary adjustments to get back on track.
The Bible, all of it from Genesis to Revelation, is vital to the health and well-being of the Christian. In it we learn more of who God is and His nature. We learn about God’s redemptive plan for mankind, Jesus paying the price of our sin so we could have relationship with God, and ultimately how we can spend eternity with Them in heaven. We find in it what it means to be Christ-like, a disciple and an ambassador of Christ. It brings to light the deceptive ways and tactics that the enemy of our souls employs as he seeks to destroy us and keep us from what God has for us. It shows us the difference between true followers of Christ, and those who are not. Within its pages, it gives us a map to eternal life, and it gives us indicators to let us know if we are getting off track.
The world has tried to discredit the Bible, to get people to question if it’s true and relevant for today, as well as to question the intent behind the scriptures compared to what they actually say. This started way back in the Garden of Eden, when the serpent deceived Eve into questioning not only what God said, but also His intent and reasons behind them. In church circles, some of these same mindsets are beginning to infiltrate. For some, the faceplate of the compass has become scratched and cracked, and thus it becomes more difficult to clearly and accurately read what it is attempting to tell us. In some cases, people haven’t learned to read and interpret what the compass is telling them, and as a result they end up going in directions they had not planned on going in, and in some cases even leading people who are following them astray in the process.
In these last days, more and more people are not paying attention to the compass and what it’s telling them. They look ahead and think they know the direction they should be heading in, especially if it’s appealing in some way, and without taking heed to what the compass is telling them they dart off on the path they think is best. In Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25, we are told that there is a way that seems right to take, but the end only leads to destruction. Don’t ignore, neglect, or even discount the compass of life God has given us in the Bible, because if you do only destruction and death awaits you. As you read it keep the following question in mind; “Do you read in the Bible what you believe, or do you believe what you read in the Bible?”
The Bible is God’s map for humanity, showing them the path to eternity in heaven, but it’s also God’s compass to help us stay on course to our eternal destination. Never make light of it! Never discount it as being non-relevant for the day we are living in, because it is always relevant. Never adopt the mindset that what it says, or the message it conveys to us, needs to change for any reason because that is not true. Never discount what it actually says to identify what you think the intent behind it really was, because then you’re saying that God “doesn’t mean what He says, and that He doesn’t say what He means”.
The Bible. The vital tools of the Christian life are found in it; the map and the compass.
John Johansson (Pastor John)