For years we have heard about there needing to be a moral compass in people’s lives. Well I guess in this high tech age we live in, we need to update that and set a “Moral GPS.” Most people know what a GPS is (or a compass) as it helps to guide and direct you so you don’t get lost. It is important that as human beings we too don’t get lost, and I’m not talking about being “geographically challenged,” but rather being lost in our relationships with our fellow man. Here is what Jesus had to say about your moral GPS.
Setting the Standard
Every compass or GPS is set against a standard. They are calibrated so that they give accurate readings and directions. A compass has a magnetic needle that always points to the magnetic north pole and a GPS is set so that it triangulates its position based on a range of satellites in fixed orbits over the earth.
In a moral sense we too need to have a standard set. For thousands of years that standard was the standard of law, which was based upon biblical law. It is an excellent standard but it has been significantly watered down in recent decades and lost a deal of its effectiveness and usefulness.
Jesus also provided a better picture of the standard set under the law in his life and example for all men. He improved the standard significantly for his life and teaching were not based upon law but on God’s love.
Studying and Using the Standard
But like a GPS or compass is useless unless it is calibrated, so too having a moral standard is of no use unless it is part of who we are. Unless we take the standard to heart and live by the standard, what is the point of having the standard? It’s about as useless as a compass that doesn’t point to north.
So We are told in the Bible that a study of the law is a good thing. Paul wrote, “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.” (Romans 7:12) He also wrote, “So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24)
When we study and understand the principles in God’s law we learn what it is that is required of us in our relationships, firstly with God and then with our fellow man. And when we learn these things we can then do what Jesus required of us in this section of scripture in Luke 12:57-58 which says, “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison.”
When you understand the difference between right and wrong you are able to make these judgements for yourself. If people would undertake to learn and be guided by this moral compass then life would certainly be much better than today. But there is a better way than this available today.
Improving the Standard
We saw in the Galatians 3 scripture above that the “…law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith.” Christ has taken the moral GPS to a whole new level, and yet at the same time removed the burden of the law.
Under the law people were compelled to do what was right or suffer the consequences of their wrongdoing (sin). They had to be compliant…or else! But what Jesus is seeking is a people who do not follow the law from a compliance perspective, but from a place of commitment. He is looking for people to do what is right because it is right. He is seeking people to have the laws so ingrained in who they are they would not even consider doing the opposite. We are told this when he says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more.” (Hebrews 10:16-17)
When we think this way then we can judge what is right from wrong and choose the right way. This is the place where the Lord is leading all of his people. This is the message of the New Covenant, that we are being changed into his likeness through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Then when that work is accomplished in each of us we will truly have God’s law written on our hearts and minds and be committed rather than compliant to His ways.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Patrick Hajzler)