Survival shows have become the trend in cable television lately. Apparently, everybody in North America is fascinated with the idea of being lost in the middle of nowhere. Playing off this trend, I want to ask you how you would respond if you were lost and alone deep in the woods? Could you find your way out? Would you able to survive by yourself?
Dark and scary woods:
What kind of equipment would you need in order to survive in the deep, dark woods? We all know the woods can be a scary and dangerous place. What if you could only take one item with you into those woods, what one item would you carry? Would you carry a gun to defend yourself against wild animals? Would you take a survival knife so that you could build traps or construct a shelter? What about a fishing pole? Would you take a fishing pole so that you could have enough food to survive?
And then there’s exposure to the elements. If it’s raining, you might want to take a rain jacket. If it’s snowing, would you choose a parka as your one item? How about a cell phone, a GPS tracker, or a survival radio? I mean, the possibilities are almost endless. It can be hard to choose one from all the possibilities. Until you ask yourself the question, what do I absolutely need to find my way out? That question should eliminate most of the options.
What it takes to find your way out:
The reason why it’s so challenging to figure out what to carry with you in a survival situation is because most of us think first about our own comfort. A parka keeps us warm in the cold. A rain jacket keeps us dry. You must eat, so a fishing pole makes sense. You must have shelter or you’ll die from exposure. That’s why a survival knife is a perfectly rational choice. But none of these things can help get you out of the woods.
The challenge of this survival scenario is how to find your way out of the woods and back home safely. Here’s the one item I would take: A COMPASS. Without the compass, I have no way of figuring out which direction I’m headed. Without a compass, I might walk in circles until I die and the vultures fly over my dead carcass. A compass is the minimum that it would take for a person to find their way out of the deep, dark woods.
What it feels like when you find home:
Life is a little bit like a survival situation in the deep, dark woods. There are millions of things competing for your attention. There are myriads of things trying to get you off track. Many of the opportunities that life presents can make your life more comfortable. Many of the business deals or education choices you make open huge opportunities in your future. However, if you’re not careful, you can still find yourself walking around in circles with no real direction in life. So, I want to ask you which direction is your life headed? What compass are you following in life?
I believe this is like the choice Jesus is describing in Luke 20:17-18. The religious leaders were infuriated by Jesus’ teachings at this point in the book of Luke. They wanted to silence Jesus. They started by trying to trick him with theological questions. When those didn’t work, they moved to questioning his authority. In the process, Jesus puts them on the spot. He looks at the crowd around him and suggests these religious leaders will lead them astray if they’re not careful. You can do all the right religious things and still have a wrong heart (Luke 20:19). These religious leaders were the perfect example of that.
Here’s what I want you to understand from this survival scenario. Life must be lived with a purpose. You were put on planet earth for a reason. Are you certain the direction your life is headed? How sure are you that you’re not just walking around in circles? I don’t know about you, but I’m living for the glory of God. I’m trying to keep that the direction of my life by daily walking step-in-step with Jesus Christ. That’s the direction I want my life to point.
Finding your direction in life is like finding home after being lost in the woods for days or weeks. God sent his Son Jesus so your life would have purpose. He wants you to know the joy and the satisfaction of resting in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He wants you to know the pleasure that your life is headed for in heaven. Jesus is the compass that gives your life direction. A life lived for anything else is simply a life of walking in circles until you die. If you’ve never turned control of your live over to Jesus Christ, here’s how you can do that:
Pray this simple prayer as a sincere commitment to Jesus.
Lord Jesus, I’ve made a mess of my life. I’ve been walking in circles because I’ve been living for myself. Today, I turn from the sin of living for myself and turn to you for the first time. From this moment forward, I place my life in your hands. I’ll go wherever you lead me. You call the shots in my life I don’t.
If you’ve just made that commitment for the first time, I’d like to know about it. I want to pray for you. Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.