GPS and the Holy Spirit

Recently, the elder commissioner from my church and I went to a Presbytery meeting.  The meeting was held at a church about 80 miles north of here.  The elder brought his GPS unit in order to make sure that we’d get there with no wrong turns.

At one point, the GPS unit was directing us to turn off the state highway and take back roads.  We decided that we wanted to stay on the main road, so while the GPS unit was clearly telling us to “turn left, turn left,” we stayed straight.  As we passed the turn, the GPS unit started chiming, “Recalculating … recalculating…”

When you have decisions to make in life or when it appears that you’ve made a wrong turn, wouldn’t it be nice to have a spiritual GPS unit to help guide you on your journey?

The Holy Spirit is the guiding power of God. It gives people the gifts and graces needed to be faithful people of God. It gives people insights and wisdom, understanding and courage, good judgment, knowledge and reverence for God (see Isaiah 11:1-3), all of which are needed to stay on a path through life that gives God honor as well as keeps us within the boundaries of being faithful disciples and useful servants.  In Corinthians (I Cor. 12), Paul says that there are different gifts of the Spirit.  Not only does the Holy Spirit give those gifts but the Holy Spirit is the power that makes those gifts work together for God’s good and holy purposes.   We often say that the Holy Spirit breathes life into the body of Christ; I like to think of it also as the muscle in the body of Christ.

Prayer is vital in opening ourselves up to the Holy Spirit.  Bible study and meditation, both alone and in community with others, helps to keep us open to the Holy Spirit. Conversations with spiritual friends, spiritual directors, pastors, Stephen Ministers and others also help us see the Holy Spirit at work and to keep our spirits open to the Spirit so that we may follow where it leads.

GPS units take us to our destination.  St. Augustine prayed, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in You.”  For Christians, our destination is God and Jesus Christ.

In our society, we are constantly on the move.   Our schedules are jammed so we don’t want to make a wrong turn that might cost us precious time. Yet, the time we take to rest in the Lord and listen for Spirit’s leading is vital to our spiritual health and well being, and vital in bringing us closer to God and Jesus Christ. 

Perhaps you have a GPS unit that you rely on, but have you looked to the Holy Spirit today?

~ June 3, 2009, The Rev. Dr. Betsey R. Crimmins