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Our Spiritual Compass

What is a Compass?

One of the definitions of a compass is that it is "an instrument used for showing direction, especially one consisting of a magnetic needle swing freely on a pivot and pointing to the magnetic north."

In many parts of the world there is as much as 25 degrees difference between true north and magnetic north. Because of this difference you must adjust the dial of your compass so that the magnetic needle points to true north. If you donít make this adjustment to properly calibrate your compass, it will not point you in the direction you want to travel.

When the distance you travel is only a few feet the amount you will be off-course will not be readily noticeable. As you travel farther away, you will find you are going in a direction other than the one you intended.

In my part of the country magnetic north is about 23 degrees from true north. This large difference can be a most serious matter when traveling in an area unfamiliar to you. Even a difference of just one-half degree can become very important as you travel farther. This can easily be calculated mathematically using simple trigonometric functions for a right-triangle. (To determine the length of the short side of a right-triangle you multiply the sine of the opposite angle by the length of the long side.)

For illustration we will use 23 degrees for the angle and one mile, or 5,280 feet, for the distance in our example. The sine of 23 degrees is 0.39073 multiplied by 5,280 equals 2,063.05. This means that if you traveled one mile you would find yourself 2,063 feet to the left or right of where you had intended to be. If you traveled one hundred miles, you would be 206,305 feet, or 39 miles to the side of where you wanted to be. It is easy to see the importance of a proper adjustment of your compass to assure you will reach your intended destination.

Using that same formula, where your compass pointed only one-half degree from true north, you would find yourself 4,609 feet, or nearly one mile to the side of where you wanted to be after traveling 100 miles.

It is therefore easy to see how important it is for your compass to be properly adjusted for the disagreement between magnetic and true north.

Many people are aware that a compass is used for pointing you in the natural realm. What many do not understand is that we also need a "spiritual compass" to help us navigate in the spiritual realm.

What is a Spiritual Compass?

Our "spiritual true north" is the Word of God. It points us to Jesus. He is our destination and He is where our focus must be (John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."). Our intellect and reasoning powers, along with the worldly pressures are the "spiritual magnetic north" which can lead us away from our intended destination. A spiritual compass is as necessary an item for showing direction in the realm of the spirit as a physical compass is in the natural world.

How do we Adjust our Spiritual Compass?

First of all, we must stay in the Word of God as it is our "spiritual north" pointing us to Jesus. We must believe it is true and that it is the same yesterday, today and forever, (John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." & Heb. 13:8, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.").

It is essential that we accept the entire Bible as true or else we must throw out the entire Scripture. We cannot pick and choose which parts we want to believe or accept. There are many who will try to convince us that tongues, healing, miracles, and etc. were only for the first century. Others will try to tell us the Bible is fiction or just a collection of interesting stories. When we look at the church today, it is easy to believe they may be right. Few Christians presently demonstrate the power described in Scripture as available for every believer.

Our ability to reason with our intellect when combined with our surroundings, imagination and what others tell us will cause us to believe our circumstances rather than the Word of God. When we allow this to happen we have corrupted our spiritual compass so that it no longer points to "true spiritual north."

After Jesus was crucified, was buried and rose from the dead, He ascended to sit at the right hand of our Heavenly Father, (Mark 16:19, "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God."). Before ascending, He told us it was necessary for Him to go but, He would send a comforter, the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."). The Holy Spirit is our Teacher who will lead us into all truth (1 John 2:27, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."). As sons of God, we are to be led of the spirit in all we think, do or speak (Romans 8:14, " For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."). It is only as we hear and obey the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that our spiritual compass is properly adjusted.

While reading the Bible is very important, we must not overlook spending time in prayer and the presence of the Lord. It is in these activities that we begin to know Jesus not only as savior, but also as our friend, counselor, and King. Our mind will be renewed, giving us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." ). God made us in His image (Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."). As we read, pray and spend time with Jesus we will begin to think and act according to the image of God we were created to be.

There are many things around us that can produce a spiritual magnetic north affecting the accuracy of our spiritual compass. Two of these have already been mentioned; our reasoning powers and believing what others tell us without checking to see if it is Scriptural. We must not blindly accept what we see, hear or read as fact without checking to see if it is Scriptural. This is true even when it comes from someone we consider to be a mature Christian, or reliable Christian source.

Another influence affecting our spiritual compass would be selecting a single verse or even just a part of a verse to justify an unscriptural position. Much wrong doctrine has been brought into the church using this approach. Often this has been done by people biased by past tradition or experience who were sincere in thinking the Holy Spirit directed them when it actually was nothing more than manís intellect.

Staying in the Word of God and in prayer along with spending time in the presence of the Lord will help us guard against these influences affecting the accuracy of our spiritual compass.

The Word of God was written under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is spiritual and the true meaning can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit. Things of the flesh are understood by the flesh and things of the spirit understood by the spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." and 1 Corinthians 2:14, "Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged.").

Among the many riches our heavenly Father has given to us are the gifts of wisdom and discernment. These gifts are free, just as the gift of salvation is a free gift from our heavenly Father. All we need do is to ask Him for them. Both of these gifts will assist us in keeping our spiritual compass properly adjusted by allowing us to rightly determine between the Holy Spirit and our own intellect.

Bill Liddle
September 16, 2004

 If you desire additional information you may contact me:  Bill

 

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