Have We Lost Our Moral Compass?
Have We Lost Our Moral Compass?
Navigation is a field of study that focuses on monitoring and controlling movement from one place to another. It may be difficult for our children to believe but navigation systems haven’t always existed. Not that long ago, we could get a trip book from AAA, or we just used maps. Yet, we have become so dependent on technology that many people don’t know how to read a map or navigate. Our dependency on technology is so great that the military has recognized the need for navigation training. “On the ground, the military is starting to retrain pilots, ship captains, and ground troops in fail-safe forms of navigation that don’t rely on GPS—like celestial navigation” (Wired, June 2018).
Yet more than 2,000 years ago, a star in the sky proclaimed the fulfillment of prophecy. But this was no ordinary star. It served as a beacon; a light used by three Wisemen to navigate eastward, to the town of Bethlehem. This event, perhaps the earliest documented case of celestial navigation, is found in in Matthew 2:1-2 (GW):
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea when Herod was king. After Jesus’ birth wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the one who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star rising and have come to worship him.”
While the Wisemen were guided by faith, today technology seems to have replaced our personal relationship with God, leaving us as psychologist Gregg Henriques calls “morally adrift.” Henriques says that “we do not have a clear sense of how to ground our identities and actions to ultimate values that transcend time and place. That is not to say that our society is largely immoral. Just amoral---lacking clear a compass or a foundational guide” (Psychology Today, Jan. 2012).
Our moral compass “is the thing inside of us that tells us which direction we should go when we have to make decisions involving right and wrong” (www.heartspiritmind.com). Perhaps, it’s time to orient our moral compass and plot our way back. Colossians 3:1-2 (MSG) says:
“So, if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”
Seeing things from Jesus’ perspective requires re-orienting ourselves. As in land navigation, we need the right tools: a map (the Bible), a compass (Jesus) and something to mark or plot our course. To begin:
- Choose the right type of map. The Bible exists in different versions in more than 2,000 languages. The styles may differ, and some may be easier to read and understand. Explore the different versions and find one that speaks to you and is an accurate translation; one that you can stick to reading.
- Make sure the map is aligned correctly. Check and align your thoughts and actions to Jesus.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life!” Jesus answered. “Without me, no one can go to the Father. (John 14:4, CEV).
- Figure out where you are. Living, and leading like Jesus, doesn’t happen all at once. Pick one area of your life that you want to change and use this as the start point. This is the dead-reckoning technique.
- Pinpoint your destination. Now that you have a starting point, focus on learning how Jesus addressed that area. The gap between the distance will help you plot your course.
- Plot and follow the selected route to your destination. Plotting your course involves identifying the strategies (routes) that you can use to reach your destination. Remember speed isn’t the goal; rather orienting your daily practices to the Jesus-like qualities you seek.
- Create checkpoints and pace yourself. Remember that change doesn’t happen all at once. You may run into construction, detours, and will occasionally need to stop to refuel. Have people around you that will encourage and support your change.
- Make time to check your progress and make course corrections as needed.
- Finally look up and pray. Remember Psalms 121:1-2 (MSG):
I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
When Jesus prayed, He often looked up to the Father. If looking up was good enough for Jesus, shouldn’t it be for us too! May this holiday season be a time of devotion; a time to renew ourselves, and a time to regain our moral compass.
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