One of the great challenges we have as Christians is to stay on course. To do that, we have to begin to recognize the importance of spiritual navigation. As is the case with most undertakings we pursue in life, some time and energy must be allocated to the study of the process of spiritual navigation and care must be taken to insure that, once we have plotted our course with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are careful to constantly reference the Spirit as the Spirit is our compass. Without the Spirit, we are always in danger of straying off course.
We look to the manual of “spiritual navigation” by looking to God’s Word. St Paul gives us some direction in Acts and in 1Timothy.
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:15 and16).
Paul’s prediction in 1Timothy and in Ephesians 4:14 rings loud and clear today:
“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…..tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming”
We are indeed tossed about on the seas of deceitful philosophies and doctrines in our modern age. The prevailing winds are often against us and we struggle daily to make headway and if we are not careful the sheer frustration of navigating in this environment can begin to lead us off course.
Fortunately, we have the perfect navigational aid in the Holy Spirit. The first step to better spiritual navigation is to humbly acknowledge that we cannot handle the prevailing winds and high seas on our own. We need to counter these dangerous elements by tuning in to the grace that the Spirit makes available to us as we encounter turbulent spiritual weather. That takes us to prayer. If we have established good communication by developing a vibrant personal relationship with God, then we can count on receiving the direction we require as we navigate the heights and troughs of our environment.
We need good spiritual navigators in this day and age. Much is amok in the modern world and the spiritual welfare of many depends on the navigational skills of Christian leaders. Take some time to access and, if need be, to nourish your relationship with your God. This is particularly critical since as a Christian you are called to witness to others. We all need competent Captains to move us safely over treacherous spiritual waters. Pray that the Holy Spirit will provide all of us with the determination and the skill to stay the course.