The Christian Life as Journey (Part 3 of Too Many)

It's high-time I continue this sporadic series of posts. The Word and The Spirit: A Map and A Compass for the Journey

Calvin rightly perceived that God's Word and God's Spirit are integrally related. The writers of Scripture often make this point. The Word is the "sword of the Spirit" (Eph 6:17). The Spirit inspires Scripture (2 Tim 3:16), and also illumines our minds to understand and apply it (1 Cor 2:6-16; Eph 1:15-23; cf. John 16:13-14). So how do the Word and Spirit assist us on the Christian journey? Think of it like this; the Word is your map and the Spirit is your compass.

The Word is your map. It provides direction for the journey. Some might cringe at this description. I understand your uneasiness. The Bible is not a, "how-to" manual. It's not a road map filled with topical sermons which enumerate various steps for living a happy, healthy life (e.g. "Seven Steps to Effective Parenting," "3 Steps to Incredible Marital Intimacy," "14 Steps to Persuasive Tweeting", etc.). Nevertheless, the Bible does guide us in the way we should go, as the psalmists continually proclaim (Psalm 1; 119). It gives us wisdom (2 Tim 3:15), so that we can traverse the narrow road before us (Matt 7:13-14). The Bible is surely more than a map, but it is not less.

As Christians, we need direction. We need a map. But we also need a compass. We need to know if we're actually going in the right direction; if we're actually obeying the witness of Scripture. The Spirit is our compass. As God's children, we are led by the Spirit (Rom 8:14). And the Spirit always points true north to the person of Christ. He reveals Christ to us (John 16:13-14), and convicts us when we fail to live Christlike lives (John 16:8-11). The Word provides direction, while the Spirit provides the internal impulse to follow it.

We need the Word and the Spirit.

If you aren't in the Word, you won't know where to go. The Spirit will lead you, but he will use the Word to do it. If you aren't in the Word, you will remain directionless.

Conversely, if you resist the Spirit, you won't follow the map. If you read the Bible prayerlessly, carelessly, or forgetfully, you will quench the Spirit. We must continually pray for the Spirit to move powerfully within us. Apart from Him, we simply do not have the understanding, the desire, or the will to follow the Bible's direction.