by Rob Tims
A few weeks ago, I hopped into the car on an early Saturday morning with my two oldest sons. They could not have been more excited for their team chess tournament, taking place at a large and prestigious private school for boys in Nashville, TN. Having driven by it dozens of times, I knew the school’s exact location but I wanted to know approximately how long it would take us to arrive, so I asked Siri for directions and set off. Oddly, Siri had the correct data for the address but had it pinned at a different location on the map. The result is that we “arrived” at our location some five minutes away from our true destination as I blindly followed her prompts.
Others have fared worse following Siri or other global positioning systems. I came across one story about three young women who escaped a sinking Mercedes-Benz SUV after the vehicle’s GPS directed them down a boat launch and into the Mercer Slough in Bellevue, Washington. The driver thought she was on a road while following her GPS unit just after midnight, but she was actually heading down the boat launch.
Yet, I’m hesitant to mock Siri because I am just like her.
Proverbs 3:5-6 is all but tattooed across my forehead, but it is far from engraved on my heart.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.
There are two issues.
First, I am directionally challenged—all because I’m far too reliant upon a faulty GPS, namely, myself. The greatest enemy of trust in God is faith in self. My self is just stable enough to lure me into putting all of my trust in it. Far too often, I am self-assured, self-centered, self-confident, and self-determined (to name a few). This reliance on the self breeds skepticism toward God. When I “trust in Rob with all my heart and rely on my own understanding, I think about me in all my ways,” yet find myself shocked when I end up on wrong paths. The belief in myself, the self-assured independence that I so quickly adopt in my spirit, is founded in pride . . . truly, the root of all sin.
Second, the remedy to my independence, “thinking about Him,” is so much more than “thinking God.” To think about God is to be Christ-assured, Christ-centered, and Christ-confident. It is to have the gospel of Jesus Christ shape all of my decisions and affections. I have to disown myself in order to find my true self. Utter dependence upon God is the remedy to dependence on self. Then, and only then, do I walk “right paths” . . . do I end up where I ought to be.
Because of His nature, God will never lead us down boat ramps. He will never sink us. Because of our nature, we end up far from where we should be and blame others in the process. Oh, that we would trust in the Lord with all our heart and not rely on our own understanding—that we would think about Him in all our ways, and have Him guide us on the right paths.
Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.