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Are You Treating God Like a GPS Unit?

Have you ever gotten lost, thrown up your hands, and wondered aloud, “Where in the world am I?”

Many people have discovered the wonders of a Global Positioning System, or GPS. In my line of work, it’s amazing how many people don’t know exactly where they are, metaphorically speaking. It’s impossible for them to get where they’re going, because they have no real inkling of where they are in the first place. They need, for their personal, emotional and spiritual lives, a way to navigate.

Now, a GPS is a relatively new marvel; God has been providing this service to people for millenia.

I’ve known several people over the course of my professional career who wanted to treat God just like a GPS unit. I’ve done so myself. I want God, like a GPS unit, to tell me how to get to my desired intentions. I’ve gotten myself lost, in a mess, and realized I need help to find my way out. So I called out to God — as my spiritual GPS — and asked Him to help me get to where I really wanted to go.

Of course, I didn’t ask Him if my intended destination was any better than my current one. I didn’t really want His opinion; I just wanted His help and divine power to get me out of my jam. I just wanted to be able to input my own data and with His help arrive at my chosen destination.

It’s something akin to the God-as-Santa-Claus syndrome. All I wanted to do was tell Him what I wanted and for Him to miraculoulsy provide it. I wanted His provision, not His perspective. This is God as device not diety, as servant not sovereign. This puts me firmly in control, and then I wonder why things don’t turn out and I’m not very happy.

In the depths of my despair and need, I call out to God, delineating in detail the best way to solve my problem, and then I wonder why God and His (my) solutions don’t appear as a genie from a bottle. This isn’t spirituality; it’s fantasy. It’s not biblical; it’s delusional, to say nothing of disrespectful, disobedient, and rebellious.

God is not really just a spiritual GPS device. It’s not His job to get me out of my messes. He can and will because He loves me, but He was not created for me. I was created for Him. In the powerful words of Rick Warren in The Purpose-Driven Life, it’s not about me. In the same way, it’s not about you.

When God is truly your spiritual navigator, you may drive the car, but He is in charge of the direction you’re not thrilled to be taking. With God as your spiritual navigator, it’s not about you. Instead, you need to give up control, listen to God, do what He tells you, and trust Him to make it all come out OK in the end.

SOURCE: Chapter 9, “God As Your Navigator (Spiritual),” in Happy for the Rest of Your Life by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc.

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