My head would tell me to go one direction, but my compass would indicate another…
During my 20 years as a forester, most of this before individual use of GPS, I never went out into the woods without a map and my compass. There were times when my ability to read the map and trust my compass saved my life. Learning to trust my compass came through the academic process of learning how to use it, however, my real trust came from actual use in real-life situations. Many times, with the intent of reaching my goal, my head would tell me to go one direction…but my compass would indicate that I needed to go a different direction. I learned to trust my compass…not my head.
One time, in my determination to complete a job that day and not have to return the next, I found myself over a mile from my pickup in rough, mountainous, timbered country…and on a moonless, dark night. Thankfully, I had my compass and a map, but no flashlight with which to see the compass or the map. I hadn’t planned on being in the dark. However, I did have a book of matches. On the map, I knew where I was and I knew where my pickup was, but without light all I could see ahead of me were ominous outlines of trees.
I struck a match, adjusted my compass and set my course on the farthest tree or visible object (rock outcropping) that lined up with my compass reading. I blew out the match and walked toward that tree or object. Upon reaching it I would light a match, set my course and walk forward. Sometimes I would only be able to move 100 feet or so and could not see any farther. I also knew that there were cliffs and other potential dangers on this path that I would need to watch for.
It was somewhat of a stressful trek. But because I used my map, knew where I was and where I wanted to go, and then by setting the proper bearing on my compass, plus having enough light to see…I ended up on the road within sight of my pickup.
My life-journey is very much like my journey that night
As the years have passed, since I ended my forestry career, it has occurred to me that my life-journey is very much like my journey that night. That night, in the dark forest, had I not “read” and used the information on my map…had I not trusted my compass, which contained the bearings and proper calibration that I obtained from the map and had I not used the light to see clearly I may have been in need of rescue.
…I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus as recorded in John 8:12 (NET)
In life…my map is the Bible, which contains the “coordinates” that I need to know as to where I am, where I need to go and the information to not only find my way, but also the dangers and obstacles I may encounter on my journey. My compass is the principles and precepts (moral teachings) contained within the Bible, which I can trust to set the proper trajectory for my life and keep me going in the right direction. And my light is Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who helps me see beyond the obscure shadows, in this sometimes tenebrous world with many dangers. It is His Light that gives me the confidence and hope that I will arrive at the proper destination…on the right road and within sight of safety.
And when I do not read my Bible (map), or use the teachings, principles and precepts it contains to calibrate my “life-compass”, or acknowledge Jesus as the Light that I need above all other lights…I will definitely be in need of rescue and my Moral Compass will be in need of re-calibration.
All points on My Moral Compass must always be pointed towards God
My Moral Compass is comparable to a railroad track that is constructed from my choices and decisions. When I determine to use the material God has provided to construct the track and allow it to guide me through the mountains and valleys of my life, even in those times when I deviate, my compass will always lead me back to Him. All points on My Moral Compass must always be pointed towards God (the I AM…the Eternal, Self-Existent One). God is the object and creator of morality. When I try go another direction I stumble and fall. The Bible is the written framework containing Absolute Moral Truths (that which is true for all people, all places, all times). It is objective and invariant. It is not subject to external forces or influences. Jesus summed up these Absolute Moral Truths by saying:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Even in those times when I deviate, my compass will always lead me back to Him…
God, through His teachings, creation and revelations, form the foundation of my Moral Compass and my World View (the principles and precepts, through which I filter my life-situations, to determine my choices and decisions). All points on my compass MUST agree with these principles and precepts. Though I have failed many times, through God’s grace, and others’ who love me, I will continue to pick myself up, learn from my mistakes, lean on Him and move forward to hopefully, one day, hear God say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. You are my child whom I love very much!”
May you, today, calibrate your “compass” with the principles and precepts from the Biblical “map”. May you trust it, not your head, to lead you safely home as you travel through the mountains and valleys on your life-journey.
In the freedom of forgiveness…
Map Image courtesy of Geerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net