Locating and Navigating in 2017
The GPS of Our Spiritual Lives
GPS is a wonderful thing! It is helpful to know where you are in relation to other things. Here is one helpful illustration of how GPS works in the physical realm.
‘Imagine you are somewhere in the United States and you are TOTALLY lost -- for whatever reason, you have absolutely no clue where you are. You find a friendly local and ask, "Where am I?" He says, "You are 625 miles from Boise, Idaho." ‘This is a nice, hard fact, but it is not particularly useful by itself. You could be anywhere on a circle around Boise that has a radius of 625 miles.
‘You ask somebody else where you are, and she says, "You are 690 miles from Minneapolis, Minnesota." Now you're getting somewhere. If you combine this information with the Boise information, you have two circles that intersect. You now know that you must be at one of these two intersection points, if you are 625 miles from Boise and 690 miles from Minneapolis.
‘If a third person tells you that you are 615 miles from Tucson, Arizona, you can eliminate one of the possibilities, because the third circle will only intersect with one of these points.
You now know exactly where you are -- Denver, Colorado. - 'How GPS Receivers Work' by Marshall Brain and Tom Harris
What three points of reference do we need to find our spiritual location and navigate our lives?
Faith. Hope. Love.
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, - 1 Thessalonians 1:3
But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. – 1 Thessalonians 5:8
The measure of 'success' for churches and individual believers is the combination of faith and hope and love in our lives.
How was/is your faith: resting in Jesus?
Faith is resting in Jesus; trusting whatever God says, in general, and trusting in His testimony concerning His Son, Jesus, and His finished work on the cross, in particular. This especially relates to our past and the issues of sin and guilt.
What did you do when you sinned last year?
Ignore it or deny it?
Rest in your self-righteousness or the righteousness of Christ?
Confess it and rest in the cross and righteousness of Jesus?
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9
How was/is your hoping in God?
Hope is looking to God for the help we need and the happiness our hearts long for. This especially relates to the future and the practice of prayer.
What did you do with your needs and desires last year?
Look to God or people or the world?
Pray and ask God for what you need/desire?
Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. - Luke 11:5-9
How was/is your pursuit of love?
Love is the obedience of faith that trusts God's promises and obeys God's commands for the glory of God and the good of others. This especially relates to the present and obeying God's Word in every situation and every relationship.
What was your goal each day? in each relationship? in each situation?
Pursuit of love by doing what God commands?
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? – Matthew 5:46
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. – 1 Timothy 1:5
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. – 1 John 4:20
What will you seek, by God's grace, to do better in 2017? to continue the fight to be more like Christ?
‘Resolved, To ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month, and year, wherein I could possibly, in any respect, have done better.
‘Resolved, Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be. - Jonathan Edwards
May we grow in resting in Jesus, hoping in God, and pursuing love in 2017!