Apple maps, why do you hate me?
Are you still using Apple maps? I finally had to stop. Finished. Be gone! There are a lot of things I love about my iPhone. Apple maps is not one of them! It’s failed me too many times. Once, I was looking for Panera Bread to surprise my wife. Apple maps dropped me off 15 minutes away from where I actually needed to be. No bread store in sight. I tried to give the poor app the benefit of the doubt. A few weeks later, I was meeting a friend at a Starbucks I had never been to. I was close but knew I could easily pass the sign. I turned to the amazing technology I held in my hand. Quick search for the nearest Starbucks and I’d be there in no time! Except it told me to turn around and go 20 minutes in the opposite direction! I was done. Sorry, Mac. Your stuff is great. But I need Google. Asked Google maps the same question: just ahead on the right, less than a mile. Actually, there were 5 Starbucks closer than the “closest” one Apple suggested.
In life, we’re all following a map. You may not even realize it, but something is guiding you. It may be the values you grew up with, hopes and dreams, or personal aspiration that tell you which turns to make in life. Maybe a mentor guides you and gives a map to follow like turn-by-turn directions on phone.
The problem is, sometimes we allow a faulty map to lead us. And the worst part about following a bad map is that you don’t know you’re lost until it’s too late! One day, you look up and ask yourself, “How did I get here?”
A Better Map
If we truly want to reach our destination, we need a better map. There is no room for error. A map that is 80% correct means you are getting lost 20% of the time! And that is not a risk I am willing to take in life. I need something I can trust. I need something I can rely on.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. –James 4:13-15
My own plans, dreams, and ambitions are too easily swayed by emotion. It’s like following Apple maps. Left to finding my own way, I could end up miles from where I actually want to be. I don’t want to achieve the lifestyle I’ve dreamed of, only to look up one day and realize I’ve lost my family. Or myself. No, we need a different map. A better map.
We need God.
Fortunately, He has given us a map for life. The Bible doesn’t always give us turn-by-turn directions. It is more like the Atlas I grew up with. Remember those? When we would take long trips, I was the navigator. Mom and Dad would take turns driving and resting. I was usually in the passenger seat with a large paperback book on my lap that contained maps of all 50 states and part of Canada. As you moved through states, you would have to flip to the right page. An atlas would magify one or two major cities per state, but that was it. You had the directions you needed, but it was still an adventure. You couldn’t always tell what the exact right turn needed to be.
A Hidden Map
This is how the Bible works in our lives. Fortunately, God has given us some pretty good directions to follow. You may not think of them as directions. You may have heard or read these verses and not even realized you were looking at a map for your life. Something to guide you and ensure you will be exactly where you hope to be. You may know this verse as the “fruit of the Spirit.” This is what it looks like:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. –Galatians 5:22-25
Did you notice the last verse in that passage? Let us keep in step with the Spirit. How cool is that? We have the ability in life to live in such a way that the Spirit of God will walk right beside us at every turn! This is the same Spirit of God that moved over the waters at Creation. This is the same Spirit that allowed 3,000 people to come to Jesus on the first day of Church! This is the same Spirit that gives us power. God-power! You can think what you want, but I want this Guy on my team!
So, how do we walk in step with the Spirit? By living with Love toward God and people. Let peace guide you. Be kind and gentle and live with self-control. These are not always popular ideas. They aren’t easy. But the more we follow the life-map of Galatians 5, the greater our chances will be to reach our goals and dreams- the ones that matter in this world and beyond!
Let me leave you with one simple phrase that reminds us to follow God’s map and not our own ideas and emotions. It goes like this: God’s path outperforms my plans.
Want to succeed in life? Reach your goals? Live a life of significance? The path that God has laid out for our lives outperforms our inferior plans every single time.