So folks, my new book, a 365-day devotional on choices, is almost ready. There are a few entries I’m thinking of discarding, so I wanted critical feedback from you. The following one sounds theologically dodgy – or does it…? Permission to be totally forthright, it’ll help me make my mind up:
Road Map or Tour Guide?
John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”
Sometimes in Christian circles we are given false choices – the Bible or the Spirit, conservative or charismatic, Word-driven or Spirit-led. They constitute a false dichotomy, but let’s explore them a little. The Bible can be likened to a road map, and the Holy Spirit can be likened to a tour guide. The guide knows the map and follows the map, and so I need to pay close attention to him. I can kid myself that I can get around fine by knowing the road map, but actually I need the tour guide to direct, reveal and empower me to get where I need to go and do what I need to do. The Pharisees ultimately made the mistake of seeing knowledge of the Word as an end in itself, rather than leading them to an encounter with the person of Jesus through the Spirit of God.
Bill Johnson wrote: “Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of the Scriptures enjoy a false security. None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map – to go beyond what we know.” That sounds scary, and almost dangerous. But the Spirit’s highest goal is to bring glory to Jesus (v14), so he must lead us towards truth and not away from it.
Scary? Almost dangerous? Catherine Fox wrote: “The Biblical images to describe the work of the Spirit – fire, mighty rushing wind, flood etc – are exactly the sorts of things we pay to insure ourselves against!” Has keeping things tidy become our great commission? The difference between graveyards and nurseries is that one has perfect order whilst the other has life. If we live like we’ve got God figured out, we’ve missed him.
Lord, I desperately need both map and guide. Lead me into all truth today, even if it gets messy. Amen!