In today's devotion from Our Daily Bread, published by RBC Ministries, David McCasland used the Global Positioning System (GPS) to illustrate how God directs the steps of a Christian to heaven. For those like me who have little or no knowledge of GPS, it is a space-based global navigation satellite system which directs a driver to a specific destination. The systems are available on most of the newer vehicles. In order for a driver to use the system, he must know his exact destination. Once the information is entered, the system tracks the vehicle's position at all times, and a voice instructs the driver when and where to turn. Should the driver miss a turn, the system will "recalculate" in order to get the driver back on the right road.
Although Mr. McCasland did not mention that the destination for the born again believer is heaven, nor did he mention that the only way to get there is by faith in Jesus, Who is the Way, he did show how "2 Timothy 3:16 describes the Bible as a spiritual navigation system for our journey through life." He suggested that doctrine tells us the way, reproof tells us when we have left the right road, correction tells us how to get back onto the right road, and instruction in righteousness tells us how to prevent leaving the road again.
I agree with him in that doctrine is the Gospel, which when believed, gets us on the right road in the first place. But I see reproof as the alarm that sounds when we veer to the left or right of the right path (when we sin). And I would view correction as the chastisement of the Lord "driving us" to repent (turn around). And finally, I see instruction in righteousness as being like "traffic school" which is intended to remind us of our obligation to obey the "laws of the road."
However, Mr. McCasland has presented an illustration of the overall "trip," but there is no mention of the stops for fuel, food, sleep, sightseeing, etc. Sometimes we need to "take an exit" for the necessities of life. GPS does not know when the driver needs a "potty break," or when he has changed his mind about his destination.
The Christian life is filled with "detours" that do not show up on the "computerized map in the sky." Sometimes, the driver breaks the law (sins), and the road on which he was to travel becomes closed to him. For example, let's say you were on the road to becoming a missionary, when your wife divorces you for committing adultery. Missions would no longer be an option. However, as a child of God, you are expected to repent, and seek new instructions. That is where the Holy Spirit is different from a GPS. The GPS only knows one way for you to arrive at your destination. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is able to "recalculate" not only the entire journey, but He is able to direct each and every step along the way. Instead of thinking of the ultimate destination, He wants to direct us one step at a time. For the Christian, arrival at our ultimate destination is already guaranteed, but whether or not we have a successful journey involves being faithful where we are. We are to walk in the Spirit; He will never lead us astray.