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I’m sure you’ve driven a car with a Global Positioning System (GPS). A number of years ago I settled into the passenger’s seat of a fully equipped Lincoln driven by a business acquaintance, where I had my first taste of what it means to be given on-site, immediate directions from point A to point B. You simply punch in your destination, and the GPS does the rest. Mapping out the route on the screen before you, it audibly directs you as you maneuver the wheel: “Turn left on Madison Avenue. Proceed three miles,” and so on.

Today I own my own GPS, and besides being an efficient way to get me where I’m going, it provides a great metaphor for the Christian journey. Here are ten comparisons I’ve found between a GPS and my journey on the Christian path.

1 I start with the end in mind.

When using a GPS, the first thing I do is program in my destination. Once I know where I’m going, everything else takes on a clear perspective. My first task is to be clear on where I’m headed. There may be some detours along the way, but as long as I keep the end in sight, I will get there. “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

2 My GPS charts a straight course.

The GPS guides me on the most direct route to my destination. The objective is to get me where I want to go as quickly as possible. This is no time for the scenic route! On the Christian journey, I may be tempted to leave the beaten track for the tourist traps along the way, but the straight course will lead me to victory. “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made good your confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).

3 I trust the details of the plan.

If I try second-guessing my GPS, it’ll take me a lot longer to reach my destination! The map may look like the best way to go; I may think I know a shortcut. However, if I waste time putting in my two cents every time the GPS gives me directions, I might as well go it alone, with no guarantees that I’ll make it! “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

4 I believe in the big picture.

There’s no reason to become frustrated or give up halfway to where I’m going. The trip may be a long one, but I know I’m going to arrive. That knowledge frees me to be an optimistic, faith-filled traveler. “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7, NKJV).*

5 I don’t fret when I get off course.

The beauty of the GPS is that it starts wherever I am. There’s no programmed message that chides me when I make a mistake and leave the path. No matter where I turn, the GPS just keeps charting a straight course. I may make mistakes in life, but Christ reassures me that I don’t need to get bogged down with my problems. “If [I] confess [my] sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive [me my] sins and purify [me] from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

6 My future has more power over me than my past.

The GPS is all about what lies ahead of me. It pulls me toward my destination, and it relentlessly recalibrates until I get there. The detours, wrong turns, and accidental forays mean nothing to the program. No time is wasted analyzing what went wrong. All energy is spent pointing a line to my destination. Paul said, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14).

7 Every point is a new starting place.

No matter where I am in life, I’m always at a point where I can start fresh. The GPS never flashes a warning signal, “Too late to start over. Too many wrong turns.” Today is a new day. Right now is my first step toward a fulfilling Christian life. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

8 There’s always a way to get there.

The “down east humor” of Bert and I memorialized the phrase, “You can’t get there from here.” Sometimes it’s hard for me to imagine a way to extricate myself from the mess I’m in and truly achieve my life’s goals. The message of the GPS is that there’s always a way to get there. Wherever I am right now, I can find my way home. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

9 As soon as I’m lost, a plan is being devised to help me.

The GPS doesn’t waste any time. The instant I get off course, the countdown begins to get me back on track. It doesn’t matter when I feel hopelessly lost. A fresh plan is already afoot. “When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6–8).

10 I will reach my destination.

When all is said and done, I will get there. That’s the best part. If I start with the end in mind, chart a straight course, and accept each bend in the road as a new beginning, the Christian journey will eventually lead me to victory. Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7).

I very much enjoy my GPS, because it helps me get where I need to go. I also enjoy my heavenly GPS, because it also helps me get where I want to go. 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.

* Bible verses marked NKJV are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lessons From a GPS

by Sandra Doran
From the July 2016 Signs