It's wonderful to have Google Maps on my phone! I can punch in where I'm at and where I want to go and that Google Gal offers me help to get to where I'm going!
That's great for physical location help. What about spiritual help? What about the choices and decisions we make every day? How do I know I'm headed the right direction? Where can I get help to navigate this trail as I go? And where is the destination?
Where this trail leads is important. If this trail leads to heaven, that's great, but we've still got decisions to make in the here and now. If that trail leads to success and wealth and power and prestige (IT DOESN'T!), then bumps in the road seem to be unnecessarily painful.
According to Ephesians 4, Paul says our goal is to grow up "to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." With that as the goal, our choices and decisions can be made with more clarity.
Is God willing to help? OF COURSE! Any good father wants to help guide his children to the goal. So, how does God do that? And where do we turn for help in mapping out our trail?
First, the Bible. "Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us." The Bible helps us as we move through life in the same way a map can direct our paths. We need to be reading and meditating on the Bible. But the Bible isn't the best way.
Also, prayer. Prayer is vital in accessing God's assistance in trail navigating. Think of prayer as your GPS, helping you to know where you are on the path and which way to go. We should "pray without ceasing," and God is always willing to help. But prayer isn't the best way to know where we're going and how to get there.
The Bible and prayer should never be neglected as ways to help determine the will of God for us. When we face a crossroads, we should seek out the Lord's direction in scripture and in prayer. But they're not the best way.
When Jesus' disciples were gathered with him in the Upper Room on that fateful night before his arrest, he knew he needed to give them something that would help them when neither scripture nor prayer would suffice. So he promised each of them their own trail guide - a real person who would be with them all the time.
Read the words of Jesus on that night from John 14:6-7: "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."
WOW! Isn't that amazing! Jesus gives his disciples (and you and me) a "helper." That word can also be translated "comforter" or "guide." This isn't just a back-seat navigator for the journey. This is a trail guide that is INSIDE OF YOU! If you're on the trail - a follower of Jesus Christ - then you have this trail guide installed inside of your very being!
When Jesus left his disciples days later, he promised that he would "never leave or forsake" them. How? Through the power and indwelling of his own Trail Guide - the Holy Spirit of God.
And that's the best way to follow on down this trail with confidence.