But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. (John 16:13)
In one sense, a person without the Holy Spirit is very much like a traveler lost in a foreign country, wandering without a map. Even if she knew her destination, she would have almost no possibility of reaching it on her own. There would be too many confusing twists, turns, and intersections along the way. To take the analogy a bit further, let’s add the complication that while there are numerous road signs in place, they are all annoyingly incorrect.
If the Holy Spirit had not been given, essentially, this would be our plight as followers of Christ, trying to follow him, trying to live according to his commands, but not having the ability to do so. We would be lost and wandering in a foreign and difficult place. The road signs posted in our world, which seem to offer us hope, inevitably point us in the wrong direction. The result would be a life of futility and frustration.
Enter the GPS. With a GPS installed in your car, suddenly everything becomes clear. First, because the GPS is connected to a satellite, it knows exactly where you are in relation to everything else. You can see only the part of the road right where you are sitting, but the GPS sees the bigger picture. The satellite the GPS is connected to is, in a manner of speaking, omniscient because it can see the entire map at once, assess the traffic jams, and suggest detours.
Second, because of its greater perspective, the GPS can calculate the best possible route for you to take and can break it down into simple steps—driving directions. Third, the GPS gives you real-time instructions. And if you take a wrong turn, it can redirect you.
Now, even though you may be traveling over foreign roads with faulty road signs, you can relax because you have a helper, a guide that has an infinitely wider perspective than your own. You have gone from confusion to clarity; from darkness to light.
Though the Holy Spirit is much more than some electronic device, the analogy to a GPS is quite helpful. God has given us an inner voice, an inner compass that will provide the information we need to navigate successfully through our lives.
But there are a few things we need to do in order to get the full benefit. First, we have to set the right destination. Second, we need to allow time to “acquire the satellite:” to connect to God by spending time in prayer, reading Scripture, practicing spiritual disciplines, worshipping, and spending time with other believers. The stronger our satellite connection, the stronger the signal. Third, we need to listen and follow the driving directions that are given. The Holy Spirit doesn’t coerce us. We need the Holy Spirit only if we want to obey God’s will and follow God’s path. The choice is still ours.
Can you relate to this analogy of driving with(out) a GPS? How does it fit your experience?
Holy Spirit, thank you for loving me and wanting what’s best for me. Please help me to hear your instructions and follow them.