by John Russell
While conducting a seminar for married couples, radio personality Dr. James Dobson drew a simple illustration on a white board representing a normal pattern of a relationship with a line showing highs and lows. He was emphasizing the need for balance amid life’s circumstances and depicting how life isn’t a neatly designed straight line.
During a break he overheard one man relate to a cluster of men in one corner, “I wish someone years ago had warned me about that squiggly line.”
The current generation has been labeled the “sprint culture,” living their lives in a series of energetic bursts, quitting once they grow tired. Christians, however, must take a longer look at life to see the value of continuation and effort when enthusiasm and energy wane and the “squiggly line” looms ahead.
Too many decisions are subjectively based when faith calls for objective commitment. In the early days of iron ship construction, a wooden mast was erected on the main deck so that a sail could be struck in an emergency. They also placed a compass at the top of the wooden mast, away from the powerful magnetic pull the iron would hold. Once a day, a sailor was ordered to climb the mast to read the “higher compass” for pure accuracy.
The strong pull of emotions can cloud decision-making, and we need direction—a higher read—from a higher source, formed through discipline and balance. A sprint mentality might be prone to quit, but the higher compass encourages wise believers to work through obstacles.
We must flee from evil when it pulls and promises (see 1 Timothy 6:11). When prone to temper, walk away. When lured by pride, have enough sense, courage, and foresight to walk away. When enticed by the ungodly, rehearse the consequences in advance and it will help you to walk away.
Read the higher compass daily and exercise the discipline needed to work through and walk away, and the wisdom to know when each ought to be applied.
John Russell recently retired from a 40-year ministry with Lakeside Christian Church in Lakeside Park,, Kentucky. John and his wife Susan have two adult children, Jay and Stacey.