When I teach Scouts about how to use a map and compass, it always tickles me to hear them say things like, “I wouldn’t be lost if I had a compass or a map.” So I say, “Without discussing it, point to North.” Did you know that 6 Scouts can point in up to 6 directions? at the same time? However, there will usually be 1 or 2 who change their mind to agree with a friend, so that leaves roughly 4 directions.
Now they each begin to have an uneasy feeling in the pit of their stomach which is trying to tell them that they don’t know what they’re talking about. If I am feeling particularly mischievous, I hand them a map and repeat the order, “Without discussing it, point to North.” The map doesn’t do much to clear up the confusion, but it does appear to do so for a moment. When the Scouts see the compass rose on the map, they think it must be telling them which way North is in the real world. Wrong. That compass rose tells them which way North is on the map. What they need is someone or something to tell them which way North is in the real world, so they can orient their map to the real world. What they need is a compass.
We often do the same thing. We often go through life thinking that we have it figured out. We run from one distraction to the next until we find we’ve lost our bearings. We’re lost. We all have some sort of map by which we strive to navigate our way through life. But maps don’t do much good unless they agree with truth. Even if my map has all the correct information on it, and identifies where I am, I am still in trouble if my map says North is in the wrong direction.
The Bible is God’s Word, it is truth. Whenever there is a discrepancy between my life and the Bible, it is my life which is wrong. Where my life disagrees with the Bible, it is my life which must adjust. I must change my life to line up with the Bible. I must orient my life to agree with God’s Word. Furthermore, the Bible is not only our compass, but also our map to guide us through life.
When I find myself in counseling situations of open, willful, defiant sin, I will use an example like this to try to help them see that we don’t get to tell the compass which way is North. The compass tells us, and we must decide whether to submit. If we choose to submit, then it will guide us. If we choose to defy, then we do so at our own peril.
We don’t get to tell God what is right and what is wrong. He tells us, and we decide whether to submit. If we choose to submit to God, surrendering our lives to be lived in obedience to Him, then we have the benefit of His guidance, the comfort of His presence, and many other blessings besides. However, if we choose to defy Him, then we do so at our own peril.