I recently took a road trip with my family and was reminded of just how much I rely on GPS to get to somewhere new. My wife and I discussed using an Atlas like we used to have to use before almost everyone carried a supercomputer in their pocket, but the GPS on our phone was just too convenient, and we quickly settled on using it for our trip. The way I understand it, a GPS needs three things to work: An accurate destination, to be working correctly, and for you to follow the directions.
The second chapter of First John (not to be confused with the Gospel according to John) offers a straightforward way to make sure that your spiritual GPS is calibrated correctly:
1. Make sure that your destination is set towards Christlikeness. (1 John 2:3-6) By focusing on Christ and the life and behavior He modeled for us and making that the path we follow, we will grow in Christian maturity and our witness for Christ will be stronger.
2. Make sure that your spiritual GPS is calibrated according to the standards Christ set
(1 John 2:7-11) As a mentor of mine was fond of saying: “Your beliefs dictate your actions and your actions show your beliefs.” In other words, what you truly believe will determine how you behave, and you can usually tell what a person truly believes by looking to see if their actions and their words line up. If your actions are in line with what Christ has said, then you can be sure that your GPS is properly calibrated on your journey to Christlikeness.
3. Accurately follow the directions your GPS is giving you (1 John 2:15-17) You can have the best GPS in the world, but if you’re consistently turning left when it directs you to go right, you’re still not going to get to your destination. Likewise, if you say that your faith is in Christ, but you are still consistently behaving the like rest of the world does, you’re not going to reach Christlikeness no matter how good your GPS may seem to be.