GPS Training

Is your GPS training you not to think?

Because I live in the huge metropolis of Los Angeles County, where traffic can make a relatively short commute into a nightmare, I sometimes use GPS even on familiar routes (in order to avoid some of the traffic). However a few times I have turned off the GPS after checking the route, but then have almost missed a turn because I was waiting for the machine to tell me where to go. Having a device that directs you through a route can eventually lull you into a mindless kind of driving that depends on the device rather than paying attention to the surroundings.

This is not a complaint about GPS–certainly it is very helpful and I will continue to use it–rather, this is simply an observation that came to me as I was driving recently: depending on something like GPS can train my mind to disengage and not think. And I see a similar principle at work in my daughter. Because all her formative years were spent in an orphanage in China where the workers did a lot of things for her (granted, for good reasons–her Down Syndrome means everything she does is very slow), her mind was gradually trained to not think but just wait for someone to do it for her.

I wonder if that same dynamic comes into play in our spiritual lives as well. Do we listen to a sermon the same way we listen to our GPS? In other words, does our mind shift into autopilot just waiting to be told what to believe or think or do? Or, do we engage deeply with the Word being preached, examining the truth of it (Acts 17:11), letting it dwell deeply in us (Colossians 3:16), and then doing it (James 1:22)? Is our singing truly an expression of worship and submission and joy to our God, or are we mindlessly mouthing words (Mark 7:6-7)? Do we love one another deeply from the heart (I Peter 1:22), or is our interaction with one another distracted and shallow?

Don’t let the routines of your Christian life lull you into passivity or mindlessness, rather “Prepare your mind for action…” (I Peter 1:13) so that you can follow Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians:

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”   – Ephesians 5:15-16

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