Lately, I’ve been thinking about navigation. I know, very strange. I’m not an experienced sailor who has spent years learning the art of navigation. I just like pirates, explorers, and exciting stories about the open ocean. The interesting thing about ocean navigation is that it is really easy to get off course. If you set sail for 1 degree west of your intended destination and never check your position again, pretty soon you are going to be way off course. The solution is to continually check your position and coordinates while making the appropriate adjustments. Sometimes, getting off course is a slow journey rather than a quick jump 800 miles off track.
On the spiritual journey, it’s the exact same principle. In short, if you don’t keep your heart, mind, and spirit in line with the teachings of God, pretty soon you may find yourself in a position that seemingly came out of nowhere. However, like most things spiritual, this is a whole lot easier said than done. One reliable way to check your position in your journey with God is through encouragement: here are the three coordinates.
Prayer. The personal conversation we have with the Lord on a daily basis plays a big part in how we live. If you want to see the depths of a man’s spiritual life, look at his prayer life. One of the best ways to find encouragement is to find it hidden in the heart of God by drawing closer to Him in prayer.
Word. There are verses that I’ve read hundreds of times but speak to me in different ways every time I read them. And it always hits me in the exact way I need at the moment. God wasn’t joking when He said that He is Faithful and that His word was breathed by Him (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Community. This one is just as important as the other two. Hebrews 3:12-13 explains that we are to warn, encourage, and exhort one another daily to ensure we are living in accordance to God’s will. I don’t think encouragement is always a fuzzy feeling of saying to someone, “You are so awesome; thanks for being so perfect in what you do.” Sometimes, it’s encouraging someone back onto the path of God by being open and honest with them, speaking the truth in love, of course. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the only thing someone needs is a friend to come by and say, “Great job.” Other times, more is needed. Just remember, you are in the community as well, so if you are doing something that needs to be addressed, don’t get your nose out of line when a brother brings something to light. Communities work best when humility and servanthood are the goals.
These three suggestions are not original, but they are sure navigational aids! Participating in these acts of worship gives God the opportunity to speak to us and it gives us the chance to draw near to Him. That is what allows us to daily check our spiritual bearings to ensure our eyes are fixed on Christ.