From antiquity onwards - at least until fancy gadgets were invented - sailors have used the stars to guide them across the seas. In this celestial navigation, Polaris, or the North Star (which curiously is a system of three stars in one), has been by far the most important reference point because it indicates quite precisely which direction is north.
If we do not have something to guide us, we can get lost on the ocean. We can get even more harmfully lost in other ways in our journey through life. We all need a “true north” and a worthy destination to enable us to successfully navigate across the waters that we travel on. Far too many people drift along day by day in their routines with no purpose, no sense of meaning, no special direction and no goal.
The dangers of losing one’s way are increasing. In post-modernist thought, there are no guideposts and no destination. Emotions supersede truth. Everyone’s values have the same worth as everyone else’s values. There are no absolute values and principles, because supposedly there is no Creator. Therefore, there are growing multitudes running around aimlessly, hollowly, hopelessly and completely lost. Anxiety and depression are skyrocketing.
We need not flounder helplessly and aimlessly. God has sent us his son Jesus Christ. He has left us with the Holy Spirit to be our pilot. Through them, if we let them, we are guided through life to eternal salvation. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 8:12 gives additional understanding: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ ”. No greater clarity is needed.
The physical North Star helps guide us where we want to go. But it is affected by precessional wobbling that causes it to change position about one degree every seventy-three years. In a couple of centuries, it will not show us where true north is. It is distant, inaccessible and slowly dimming. Most importantly, it does not assure that we have a worthy destination.
In contrast, Jesus has eternal constancy. He not only shows us the way; He is the way. He is totally accessible if we let Him be. As we draw closer, His light grows ever brighter.
In the physical world, lengthy periods of fog or cloud can obscure our view of the North Star and cause us to lose our way. The spiritual world is not free from the danger of getting disoriented. There are foggy teachings and treacherous currents of opinion and political correctness that can distort our understanding of scripture and affect our relationship with Jesus. There are idols, temptations and earthly riches that can distract us, drag us off course and get us hopelessly lost.
As Paul exhorts in Ephesians 4:14, we must not be “infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming”. We must keep our eyes upon Jesus. Only in this way can we successfully navigate through life.
The Union Church of Guatemala
Leaders & Church Staff
Dr. Ralph Porter
Women's Ministry President