Perhaps I can thank my parents – to help keep my fighting with Richard to a minimum on long trips in the car, we would take turns being the navigator. The navigator rode shotgun and manned the AAA TripTik.
Old maps particularly intrigue me because they offer a view into how people long ago saw the world. Maps were a best guess or estimate of spaces and places and geographical features.
One of the values of a map is to show one where one is. Maps contain various features because for you or me to know where we are, it is important that we consider where we are in relation to other things.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that you can not really know where you are unless you also answer this question:Where am I in relation to what?
What kinds of things are helpful to you on a map to get your bearings? Google Maps has a variety of layers, each one offers a different set of things relative-to-which we can figure out and understand where we are and where we are going.
Now, to make the “devotional leap,” I believe our spiritual lives work the same way. If you or I want to know where we are spiritually, it is helpful, even essential, to ask, “relative to what?”
Are you interested in where you are in relative to God? To your spouse? Your parents? Your employer? Friends from high school?
How do you know where you are relative to any of these? You get to know them. You spend time with them. You stay in contact with them.
Knowing where we are relative to God is different than any of these others because we don’t actually get to see or hear God (generally). However, we can be thankful that we have the Bible as well as the community of the Body of Christ to help us get our bearing relative to God.