15 March 2012

The GPS of life…whose instructions do you follow?

We are never to old to learn, are we? Over the past few weeks I discovered the value of a GPS! 

Remember the years of old, having someone in the passenger seat, giving trying to give instructions from a map book, or even worse trying to read the map book yourself while driving? In the beginning years of Christo and my marriage I was his navigator with great confidence. I have very good sense of direction, but I have one major weak spot, I don’t know my left from my right :-(  That caused some serious communication problems at times.  As the years has gone by, and little blessings were added to us, it became more and more difficult to concentrate on map books and giving directions, with a baby or toddler in the back seat, who needed my attention too.  

Baby CJ 1994

So it was truly a blessed day when Christo got his GPS and I didn’t need to navigate anymore. 

Shortly after Christo got his GPS I got one too, but I didn’t use mine very often. I don’t drive to unknown destinations very often and when I do, I like the challenge to follow directions in the old way. Stretching my brain to remember street names, figuring out where is right and left, looking out for beacons to indicate I’m still on track!   
But things change, or maybe my brain just needed a break :-) Over the past month I had to drive to the other side of the Peninsula quite often. Since it was an area with plentiful places I didn’t often get the change to pop in to, I allowed myself the privilege to visit one or two places on the way. As usual, time wasn’t in ample supply. I tried to fit in as much as possible, and decided to give my GPS a try.
What a relieve and blessing to use the GPS! l almost every single day found myself lost not having an idea where I was. Willingly, thankfully I trusted my GPS, carefully listened to each instruction, attentively watched the little screen for extra visual direction.
Once, two of my little ones were driving with me, chatting with each other, pointing out interesting places, asking questions and soon I had to explain to them they had to be quiet, as I needed to listen to the voice on my phone, otherwise we would be on the road much longer than needed.

In another situation I accidentally, in a moment of to many distractions, took the wrong turnoff and found myself in an extremely stressful situation, in which I  had to trust my GPS even more to get out of a very uncomfortable area.
While in the past I only used the GPS now and then, and more for the fun off it, for me, as well as the children :-), it is not an unfamiliar feeling anymore to rely on my GPS for instructions. I’m actually getting in a routine of making use of my GPS as part of the equipment necessary for reaching my destinations safe and sound. Listening to instructions very carefully, ignoring voices that can distract me and interrupt my concentration.
So it may not surprise you, that on one of these outings I added the GPS on my phone to my One Thousand Gifts list.  

While having lots of time to meditate - after all the GPS was now thinking for me - I became aware of the correlation between a GPS for road instructions and the Bible for instructions for my journey on earth! 
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 
2 Tim. 3:16-17

Some interesting points came to mind:
The possible wrong ways of using a GPS:
  • I can switch on my GPS only after I got lost - and in the past I did!  It only added stress to my situation. Trying to operate the GPS while I’m in a difficult situation is not advisable! There was a time in my life during which I only opened my Bible when I was in trouble, as a kind of safe way out;
  • Before you start your GPS navigation, you get to choose the specific route you want to follow - one for the shortest route, one for the quickest route, and your route. I was in the habit of doing just that with the Word of God! Before I was in the routine of reading the Word of God on a daily basis, I would only use the Bible for the shortest way to get to something, the quickest way to accomplish something, and more often, after getting instructions from the Bible, follow my own way.
But that is not how I’m using my GPS anymore...
  • I now use my GPS as normal practice. It is so much easier to follow the GPS instructions from the start and reach your destination without detours, on the safest road, even if it does take a few minutes longer. Over the past 6 months I got in the routine to study the Word of God early every morning, before any one else is awake (okay, I do sometimes have a little one on my lap).  What a joy to experience God’s presence every morning and the blessing of Him equipping me for the day, without me even knowing what the day would be like. Often I would get an instruction, which I only realized later the day was a need to know.
  • I noticed I enjoy my drives so much more , since I’m using the GPS.  When I’m alone in the car I can even listen to worship music. My GPS fades out music when instructions are given.  Life will always throw you temptations, disappointments, challenges, but with God’s Word as instruction on a daily basis, fears and worries can fade out. I’m constantly reminded of His love and His truths.  As long as I follow them, I will have a vision, hope, peace.  
  • I’m a visual learner and thanks to the visual map on my GPS, I don’t feel lost anymore, trying to figure out where I am; am I still on the right track! I know where I’m going and I know the navigator knows where I’m going. Just as there are times when I’m not quite sure where the GPS is taking me, there are times when I cannot see what God’s plan is for my life, times of confusion, doubt, sadness and fear.  But with God’s navigation through His Word and His loving banner of protection over my life, as a result of following His instructions, I can be sure He has a hope and a future for me.  He know exactly where He is heading with me. He will make a way where there seems to be no way…
  • When I do take the wrong turn, I don’t panic anymore! By following the recalculated GPS  instructions I’m on my way again soon enough . Obviously not without a few challenging moments and a delay in my time of arriving.  How encouraging to know when we do make wrong choices in life, don’t follow God’s instructions and do find ourselves off target and in trouble, God’s Word and loving kindness will always guide us back on track. If we only allow Him and follow His instructions to the letter. This will not be without consequences.  There will always be consequences in disobeying God’s Word. The second time around will never have the same blessing as the first time, but God IS a God of second chances and we can trust in His forgiveness and mercy to pull us through.  
  • As I have to quiet extra voices and listen very, very carefully and follow instructions on my GPS, trusting only the GPS and not taking instructions from ‘back seat drivers’, I have to quiet out all voices that distract me from the instructions in God’s Word. The Word of God is the only instruction that will keep me from destruction, living a life for self.   Sadly, not many consider God’s Word as their absolute authority anymore.  I constantly hear people saying the Word of God is relative.  “What is true for you, is not necessarily true for me. Certain instructions in the Word of God, is not relevant for today anymore - it was only for ancient times.” The World, the Church, fellow Christians, all have opinions of what direction one need to take in a certain situation. These are all worthless, in comparison to God’s Word which intend to instruct man for a safe journey on earth for all times to come!  I need knowledge of the Word of God, to be able to identify the lies, worthless teachings and wrong believes of our culture, which are not in line with God’s instructions.  I’ve seen people put aside the Word of God as their Road map, and only pray about instructions and then act according to the feeling they experience - sometimes  totally against the instructions given in the Word of God. We need to educate ourselves in the Word of God, and carefully choose Bible Believing Teachers to teach us about the Word of God. After all, not everyone know the Greek and the Latin of the Original Word of God.
  • Before one experience the benefits of trusting the GPS all the way, one can often decide to ‘get off’ the road plan halfway to the destination, trusting own insight, take own turnoffs and end up in a total wrong location!  How often I hear the argument, “The Lord has given us a mind to make wise choices. We must not be irresponsible in the way we live.”  Interesting the Word of God is very clear on the foolishness of Man and his own insight. Why would God give us 66 Books of instructions, if He was trusting we would make the right choices, by thinking for ourselves?  I do agree, sometimes the instructions are quite challenging, aren’t they?  But like everything in life, nothing worthwhile comes easy.  When we do things God’s way, no strings attached, it is always for our own good, and God’s glory!
I want to challenge you to rethink how you use the Word of God in your life. If necessary make the necessary adjustments. Move over to the passenger side, put God in front of the steering wheel and enjoy the ride!
Much love


Anonymous said...

Thanks Linnie. I realised that since I started the morning challenge I have also learned to give the steering over to God and (try and) sit in the passenger seat, more often. And yes... less stress, and more actually gets done.

Thanks for sharing with us.

Elize van der Merwe

AutumnVine said...

Yes, thank you Linnie, for making this comparison. I do use the GPS - Gods Perfect Solution - more and more and the Good Morning Challenge really helps me.
I'll have to read this post again.


Audra Marie said...

I love the correlation you made between the GPS system and God's word. Our 'travels' go so much better with God's guidance. :)

Linnie said...

Elize, thanks for stopping by - such a blessing to get to know you more through our morning challenge!

Linnie said...

Esther, Wow, I haven't see it - GPS, God's Perfect Solution!! That is perfect! Thank you for sharing this.

Linnie said...

Audra, what a surprise! Welcome on my blog and thank you for taking the time to comment.

Huisvrou said...

My experience with the GPS trying to get to your house was quite negative... :)

But I love your comparison!

And have to admit, I can't differentiate left and right either!

But am quite good at navigating and keeping my direction.

Thanks for this thought-provoking post!

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