Most people are familiar with the designations of north, south, east, and west that are represented on a compass, but did you know a compass doesn’t point to true north? True north is where the lines of longitude converge in the geographic north pole. A compass (depending on where you are on the earth) locates the magnetic north which is approximately 500 kilometers away from the geographic North Pole. A compass works by magnetic force and can be affected by a variety of different factors, weather, other magnetic forces, and metal objects.
What is your compass in life? Where is true north for you?
This past week as I was reading scripture, I asked myself these same questions. 2 Timothy chapter 3, and particularly verses 16 and 17 inspired me to look and think about how God’s word to us is like a compass, but one that points to true north. These verses read, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
As followers of Christ, the Bible should be the compass or guide that we follow in life and faith. Paul, in his second letter to Timothy gives some instruction on how scripture (our compass) functions. First, he establishes the direction we receive comes directly from God himself, speaking to its authenticity and usefulness. Following this foundational truth Paul breaks down some of its usefulness for us. Teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness; while each one of these tasks is important, correcting was one that resonated with my thoughts of direction and being on a pathway to our true north destination.
All of scripture points us in one direction. Think about all that happens in scripture, both in the Old and New testaments. Imagine for a moment that all of scripture, the many events that take place are the longitudinal lines on a map, they all converge in one place, at the foot of the cross with Christ and ultimately with our father in heaven.
Like finding the point of convergence of true geographic north with a compass, our life and faith will need some course correction along the way. Often when we read these verses in 2 Timothy we have an outward focus, we use scripture to teach, rebuke or correct others. What if we applied the charge of correcting to our own life? There are forces at play in life that can easily pull us in directions that keep us from reaching our final destination of true north.
Course correction is common in any form of navigation so why wouldn’t it be important for our life and faith today? While wrong turns in life are sometimes difficult, they are some of the best times in life that help us correct our course of direction.
We have been given the words of scripture to be our compass in life and faith, we have also been given a guide. As we stand at the foot of the cross and live a life that honors Christ, he equips us with the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. The word of God (our compass) and the Holy Spirit (our guide) work together to help us reach our true north destination. As we apply the word of God to our lives and listen for his voice for direction in life there is no greater power that can knock us off course.