The simple believes everything,
but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
~ Proverbs 14:15 ESV
A few years ago my spouse and I were driving to San Diego. Because of the labyrinth of freeways that make up Southern California, we had the GPS (Global Positioning System) running. I knew generally how to get where we were going, but it is helpful to have those little reminders of impending exits and freeway interchanges. As we were cruising southbound on Interstate 15, the GPS suddenly commanded, “make a u-turn if possible.”
We looked at each other and burst out laughing.
We were driving in the carpool lane with solid k-rail to the left and no immediate exit to the right. How on earth could we make a u-turn?!
A few more minutes crept by. Out of nowhere, the cool female voice came through the speaker again, repeating it’s command: “make a u-turn, if possible.”
Our destination was southbound, not north. I knew well enough (having lived in Southern California for a good chunk of my life) that no other interstate or highway was ideally positioned at that moment to take us where we needed to go. Clearly, the GPS was in error. Furthermore, all the posted road signs proclaimed I-15 South (San Diego). No matter which way you sliced it, we were on the right interstate heading in the right direction. A u-turn at that moment would have led to certain disaster.
The situation grew in hilarity as every couple minutes, it would direct us to make a u-turn.
It did that for a good 20 minutes.
Were we traveling blindly? Were we trusting too much in our own knowledge? Was our reaction a sign of overconfidence or foolishness?
On the contrary, the sudden command from the GPS made us look more closely at the road in question. We wondered if there was some upcoming unknown on the interstate —construction ahead, an impending change in the lane positioning, or… something.
As it turns out, we were right and the GPS was glaringly wrong.
If we had obeyed the GPS without giving thought to our surroundings, the inevitable consequence would have been catastrophic.
Our GPS was a human-made system, guided by human-made satellites, being operated in a human-made vehicle by us humans. Humans make mistakes. Computers—made by humans—make mistakes. To follow either indiscriminately is rank foolishness.
Is there anything we follow blindly?
- Have we ever questioned the structures and origins of the Bible?
- Have we ever questioned the existence of God?
- Have we ever asked ourselves, “why is God trustworthy?”
- Have we ever wondered about the validity of the resurrection or the deity of Christ?
We are commanded to be prepared to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you… with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15). If we desire to defend our position, we must ask these questions of ourselves. We need to test our reasoning for soundness. Above all, as the Proverb writer says, we’d better “give thought to our steps.”
Our fellow humans are like that GPS system. I have been encouraged by sage human wisdom, motivated to study further by pointed (and often antagonistic) questions, and gained success by following my teachers (both Christian and non-Christian). Our fellow humans can be downright useful! Like that GPS system, however, there are times when they are downright wrong. (I include myself in that category, by the way. For starters, have you seen all my typos?!)
Our GPS, in it’s error, made us take a second look at our surroundings. It made us double-check our course. It was a good check. It was wrong, of course, but it shook us out of cruise-control mode. I appreciate the challenging questions of atheists, agnostics, non-Christians, and especially fellow Christians because, like that GPS, they force me to probe again and double-check my reasoning… again. Every single time, God is still standing like Everest—before, during, and after the shake-up. He reinforces my faith. He is steadfast. Immovable. A firm foundation. He is the one truth that never fails.
Are we asking enough questions of ourselves?
Are we questioning the doctrine of the church we attend to ensure it lines up with God’s word?
Are we regularly digging into the Bible and making necessary course corrections to our lives?
Are we praying to our all-wise, all-knowing God for wisdom and guidance?
Are we practicing intellectual laziness?
Let’s ask the hard questions. Let’s give thought to our steps. Let’s sharpen each other “like iron sharpens iron” with the intention of leading each other to God.