Reflecting on the global positioning system device in her friend's car, Sandra Doran has come up with several analogies to the Christian life.
Have you ever driven in a car with a Global Positioning System (GPS)? Settled in the passenger’s seat of a fully equipped Lincoln, I had my first taste of what it means to be given on-site directions from Point A to that too often elusive Point B. You punch in your destination and the GPS does the rest. Mapping out the route on the screen before you, it audibly directs as you maneuver the wheel. “Turn left on Madison Avenue. Keep right. Proceed three miles,” and so on.
Besides being an efficient way to get you to where you’re going, the GPS provides a great metaphor for the Christian journey. Here are ten GPS points to ponder as you travel the Christian path.
1. Start with the end in mind
When using a GPS, the first thing you do is program in your destination. If you know where you’re going, everything else becomes clear. As a Christian our first task is to be clear on where we’re headed. There may be some detours, but as long as we keep the end in sight, we’ll get there. “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20).*
2. Chart a straight course
The GPS programs the most direct route. The point is to get you there as quickly as possible. There is no “scenic route”! On the Christian journey, we may be tempted to leave the beaten track for the tourist traps, but the straight course will lead to victory. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).
3. Trust the details of the plan
If we try to second-guess the GPS, it will take longer to get to the destination! You may think that you know a shortcut. However, if we waste time contradicting the guidance system every time it gives directions, we might as well go it alone, with no guarantees of making it! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
4. Believe in the big picture
There’s no reason to be frustrated or give up halfway to where we’re going. The trip may be long, but we know we’ll arrive. This knowledge frees us to be optimistic, faith-filled travelers. “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
5. Don’t fret when you get off course
The GPS starts where 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 new course to your destination. We may make mistakes in life, but Christ reassures us that we don’t need to get bogged down with problems. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9).
6. Your future has more power over you than your past
The GPS is all about what is ahead of you. Pulling you toward the vision, it tirelessly recalculates until you get there. The detours and wrong turns mean nothing. No time is wasted analyzing what went wrong. All energy is spent pointing to the next waymark, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14).
7. 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. A GPS never flashes, “Too late to start over.” No, today’s a new day. Now is the first step in a fulfilling Christian life. “ ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool’ ” (Isaiah 1:18).
8. There’s always a way to get there
The “Down East” humor of Bert & I memorialized the phrase, “You can’t get there from here.” Sometimes in life it’s hard to imagine a way to extricate ourselves from the mess we’re in and achieve our life’s goals. The message of the GPS is that there’s always a way. Wherever you are now, you can find your way home. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
9. As soon as you are lost, a plan is being devised to help you
The GPS doesn’t waste any time. The instant you’re off course, the countdown has begun to get you back on track. It doesn’t matter whether you feel lost, a fresh plan is already afoot. “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6–8).
10. You will reach your destination
No matter what, you will get there. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).
At journey’s end
I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford a car with a GPS any time soon, but that’s OK. My vision is set; my course is charted. Each day, with its potential challenges and heartaches, is but a fresh starting point on my heavenly journey.
All Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible.