Test The Spirits

The instructor at a recent meeting of the local canoe club presented three navigational aids: a map, a compass, and a GPS. He then challenged the members present with a question: If you were able to take only one of the three on a trip, which one would it be?

He went on to commend those who chose the map, and this on the very evening when the topic which he was presenting was "How to use a GPS".

He pointed out that while the technological advances which allow us to use the Global Positioning System, or GPS, offer great advantages in determining one's position on the surface of the earth, there are inherent dangers. GPS devices can be programmed with the wrong or outdated maps, they usually suffer greatly when dropped in water, and they are dependent on batteries which have finite life and always die.

A good map, especially a topographical one, however, allows one not only to navigate, but also to have in plain view some idea of what is to be encountered in the country through which one is travelling.

There have been several stories widely reported of individuals following a GPS only to be led into impassable trails thick with snow, or to the end of roads at the edge of rivers without bridges. Some have even died because they blindly followed a GPS device, without taking into account that the device might be wrong.

All of this brings to mind the wise advice which God gives us concerning spirits:

1 John 4:1 – Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (NIV)

It may be true that the Holy Spirit can function like a GPS, as suggested in yesterday's devotional, in guiding us through new territory, and it is wonderful when the Holy Spirit leads us into new experiences of God's truth and love. It is important, though, that we test what "the spirit" says against the clear roadmap of Scripture to ensure that "the spirit" is in fact the Spirit who leads us to Jesus and in the way of Jesus. We are warned further in John's first epistle that "every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God." (1 John 4:3 NIV)

Prayer: Gracious and all-knowing God, as we welcome the possibilities of the GPS, may we hold onto our trusty maps. As we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, may we hold onto Your written Word, testifying to Jesus, the living Word. In His name, we pray. Amen.

1 comment on this post.
  1. PresbyCan Feedback:

    Thanks for this.


    Good advice James. Thanks for sharing.


    Very well written and meaning full. May God bless you.


    James
    So nice to see that you have written today’s devotional. I feel blessed every day when I read the morning’s message.


    Dear James Hurd,
    Thank you for a well-based and Biblically sound devotional.
    Keep writing.


    James
    It seems years since I gave heard from you.
    It is wise always to test the Spirit of God — no battery to die no map to miss lead. Simply trusting all the way! God bless.


    How nice to see a “new” name, at least to me, writing a devotional. Having had a recent “lost” experience with a GPS, I am ready to say AMEN on all levels. Thanks.
    (Texas)


    Very interesting ideas. I notice that you didn’t give the poor compass, which points to true north, any opportunity of winning. I taught orienteering for many years and found it unbeatable. A map is good if you can get up high enough to see the terrain.
    Hope you don’t mind my expressing my thoughts since you gave us a choice.
    Blessings!


    Excellent devotional. Thank you for writing.
    Blessings.


    Hi James;
    Thank you for your devotional. It is true that we need to discern those little voices within us. I, too, have been misled by GPS. Thank you.


    Dear Mr. Hurd;
    I was very impressed with your explanation and comparison between the GPS and our trusty maps. It has been a bone of contention for me in the last few years, how readily people accept something that is new, wholeheartedly, without checking out the pros and cons.
    I truly appreciate your explanation and, if I may, I will use it in speaking with my children and some family members.