For a brief period of time in the early part of my business career, I was in a location where hunting was big on the agenda of most men. I grew up in the city, and I knew very little about hunting. I bought all of the necessary clothing, boots, thermal underwear, gloves, warm hat, and a compass. This was long before the days of having a portable GPS device available. To top off the list of purchases, I bought an Remington rifle. I was ready to go!
On a cold day in November, I joined a few other men who had experience in navigating their way through the woods of northwestern Pennsylvania for a hunting day. It was one of those days when it was really cold.
After a few hours of being outside, I told the guys that I was ready to call it quits. I pulled out my compass and unknowingly held it very close to the rifle barrel that was in my other hand. I told them I thought I should go in a particular direction back to where my car was located.
In the background I heard a few chuckles, and one of the men suggested that I move the compass away from the rifle barrel and see if the needle was still pointing in the same direction. When I did that, the needle snapped a full fifteen degrees in another direction! Wow! If I had followed the first reading, which was totally inaccurate due to my lack of knowledge, I would have lost my way in the woods.
There is a huge application here. Using the right point of reference is critical in making our decisions in this world. Without the right point of reference, we will lose our way in the complexity of this perishable world system.
I believe the key question is: Who is controlling my mind? This is the battle ground. Whoever or whatever controls our mind controls us. This truth brings us to the Compass of Life Concept. The needle of our life is our mind. In our mind we make the decisions that determine what we actually end up doing with our time, talent, and treasure.
The diagram illustrates a compass. If this was a typical compass, north would be at the top of the circle, east on the right side, south on the bottom of the circle, and west on the left side of the circle. However, this is not a typical compass! As you can see, we’ve substituted Jesus on the north point, Crowd on the east, Self on the south, and World on the west. These are the general reference points that strive to capture our attention and control the needle of our lives.
Ultimately, we choose to point our decision-making process in the right direction. If we fail to do so, we will be subject to consumerlating, frittering away our perishable commodities of time, talent, and treasure. When this happens, we lose our opportunities for converterlating them into the imperishable eternal values that will echo into eternity. We will end life in this world and start life in heaven with nothing!
What we want is to have Jesus Christ as the only true reference point of life. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. This statement of truth is directional: Jesus Christ is True North personified. As we fix our eyes and thoughts on Jesus, we focus our mind on him.
First, let’s consider Self, the southern point on the Compass of Life. The Bible says, “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe” (Proverbs 28:26, emphasis added). Without a proper reference point in life, we end up being a fool!
Secondly, we have the Crowd, found on the compass illustration on the right side. The Crowd represents people we are trying to please, including peer pressure and our own desire to be accepted. Following the crowd may feel good temporarily, but the ending is always lasting destruction. We need to set our sights on Jesus and pull away from the crowd.
Finally, we have the World. The problem with the World is the fact that it is in the process of perishing! The World is doing everything it can to consume our earthly time, talent, and treasure! It is enticing us to invest all of our resources into stuff, activity, and experiences that in the end have no eternal value. The World does everything it can to keep us from thinking about the eternal aspect of life.
Unfortunately, for most people the reference points they use to direct their lives are Self, the Crowd, and the World. But we must always remember, none of these are reliable and not one of them will lead to fulfillment! They are all intrinsically flawed because they all keep us from focusing on Jesus Christ.
When we direct our mind (the needle) to focus on Jesus (True North) we see the heavenly realm revealed to us. It takes discipline and intentionality to focus on Jesus. If we allow our mind to drift away from True North by the gravitational pull of Self, the Crowd, or the World, we will lose our way in the spider web of the Chief Consumerlator. These influences are like the rifle barrel that was too close to my compass. It nearly sent me to a disastrous end.
Applying the Compass of Life concept to our lives enables us to become active Converterlators. When we focus on Jesus (True North), we are able to convert the perishables of this world into imperishable treasure for eternity.
What steps do you need to take in order for the needle on your Compass of Life to consistently point True North? (Be specific!)