I was on my way to work the other day and I saw a group of soldiers on base doing what is called a land navigation exercise. (I work on a military base.) They were divided into groups of 4 and 3 groups were at a check point and starting out for the next point but all headed in a slightly different direction. I know there is more than one way to get to the final destination, but usually there is one right way so one, or all, of the groups were possibly headed in the wrong direction. I knew something was going to happen, so I decided to stop and watch a few minutes. Well it wasn’t more than a couple minutes and 2 of the groups were off course and, the Army being the Army, there were instructors watching them and they called the 2 groups back to the check point and started talking to them, in a typically loud and obnoxious manner. First, the Army does that to try to reinforce critical information hoping that the soldiers take the lesson to heart, but more importantly they stopped them before they got into a potentially dangerous situation. They also wanted to be sure that the soldiers learned what they had done wrong so they could learn from the mistake.
The exact wording was slightly different but overall the same message to both of the groups. They were told they were off course and asked why they were stopped and what they did wrong to make it necessary. No one seemed to know. They were told what happened, what they were doing or not doing, that made it necessary to stop them. They had forgotten to do azimuth checks before moving to the next check point. An azimuth check is when you use the map and compass you were given for the exercise and using known locations, make sure you know where you are and to where you are going. Making sure that the compass did not get bumped or damaged, that you did not forget check the map and that you are in fact, heading toward the goal. Failing to do an azimuth check often results in getting lost, if in a combat situation that can mean you walk straight into the enemy, wander to a target for an air or artillery strike or otherwise get yourself into a dangerous situation. These soldiers would have eventually made it to their check points, but would have had some difficulties on the way due to failure to make sure they were heading in the right direction, failing to take the correct path. They were “corrected” and then went on to do the azimuth checks and got back on course.
Watching that, it got me to thinking about how at times in the past I have failed to do an azimuth check spiritually. I know certain points Christ wants me to reach, or other times come to a crossroads spiritually and need to check my spiritual compass, my Bible, and make sure I proceed on the path He wants me to take to get to the desired destination. Sometimes I get far off track and desperately need to do an azimuth check, spend time in prayer, studying the Bible and seeking the Lord to know how to get back on track. While it is a simple thing in one regard, as one must only pray for the forgiveness He will give if we ask, sometimes the circumstances we are in at the time are not as easy to get ourselves out off them. But, if we are faithful, seek Him and are sincere He will deliver us. At times, some may look too hard for the deliverance and find a path that is not correct and while God may not want us in a certain situation, He will not require us to compromise our faith to get on the right path. Sadly, I have seen some do just that, sort of like some soldiers I have seen take a path through a swamp to get to where they should be, some Christians will take a path that leads them into undesirable situations that He does not want us in. The path back to God is not a hard path, but it is not always easy either. Sometimes, getting back to where He wants us requires sacrifice but many do not want to sacrifice to get away from a bad environment or they don’t want to move slowly, they want to be in the spot they believe they should be and will compromise to get there. But, the periodic azimuth checks, seeking Him, will help us know the right path to take to get out of a bad situation without doing wrong to get to where he wants us to be for Him.
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. James 4:17
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:6-10
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
No, we cannot get to where we feel we want to be, or where He wants us through our works, only through Him. Even if we know what is right, but do wrong thinking it will get us to the right place are sinning. One must seek HIM to obtain salvation, find His will and His way in our lives. Other methods doom us to sin and failure, we will find ourselves in a swamp that was as bad as where we started if we do not follow Him and seek Him in our efforts to reach the proper place in our lives. I have at times failed to do the right checks and other times, despite knowing I was proceeding in the wrong direction, I went took the path I knew not to take. Praise God that He still forgives when I repent and ask Him to forgive me. Christ paid a tremendous price that I could have that forgiveness and salvation. I am much better about doing my azimuth checks and seeking His guidance rather than trying to follow my own plans for life. He has a much better path for me.
Lord, thank You for Your mercy and grace that I don’t deserve. Praise You for the forgiveness and for the sacrifice Christ made for me. I ask in Jesus Name that You continue the work You have started in me and continue to teach me Your way and not my own. Help me have the understanding of Your wishes for me. I pray that You work in the hearts and minds of me and my loved ones to draw us all closer to You. Give us all the understanding of His will for us.
I appreciate the visits and your time. Please take time to be a blessing to at least one person and have a blessed day.