Magnetic North

December 08, 2023 · by Heidi Stewart

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. (Is. 30:21, KJV).

Old Faithful? 

I came across a random, but interesting, article not too long ago entitled, “Can you trust a compass?” on a website called Mountaineering Scotland. The article was entirely about compasses and how reliable they are for navigation in today’s world, but something was jumping out at me:

A compass is often regarded as a failsafe piece of kit. However, the presence of magnets in so much modern technology does render it liable to interference and even reversed polarity…”

“…Magnetic fields exist around items such as mobiles and smart phones, magnets hidden inside mobile phone cases, avalanche transceivers, radios, personal locator beacons, GPS, cameras, car keys and even small magnets on belt fastenings…”

The article went on to describe how compasses usually point to magnetic north and are handy pieces of equipment but can quickly become sluggish, slow to settle or completely reversed—pointing due south. They offered several tips for how to correct your compass if any of these things should happen, noting that if you can’t get it back to its former accuracy, a Swedish company, “Silva LTD”, will take back any of their old compasses and re-magnetize them for you.

Compasses and Course Corrections

I thought it was interesting that they pointed out the effects of all our new technology on the function of an old fashioned compass. Many of our devices now draw the compasses this way and that - something compasses have in common with our hearts, if we’re honest. I believe every one of us are born with an internal draw to a Magnetic North - the only true and good God. I’m also aware that the world has been churning out new things since the dawn of time that affect our compasses’ bearings. Is the draw toward this God still reliable? You better believe it. He is the only true, unchanging King.

We’ve been seeing a movement in this hour to “deconstruct” beliefs and faith, tearing down ideas and traditions and morality until there’s barely a shred of any substance left. If you could put their faith on a compass, the needle would be spinning out of control. I’m not here to point fingers though, because I think we all damage our inner compass without realizing it, allowing different voices that are not pure and godly to speak into our lives or following after desires in our heart that have nothing to do with who God created us to be.

In those times, destroying the compass is not the answer, but re-magnetizing. The website offers a few tips for fixing what seems to be a faulty compass:

“Ensure you read the contours on the map. You should have a very clear idea as to what should happen under your feet as you walk on your compass bearing. If this is not happening, the alarm bells should be ringing and you should re-evaluate.” The best road map? the Bible. Align your thoughts and steps with that precious book, and your way will be established. The more you know of the Word, the clearer any deviation from it will be to you. The moment you notice strange surroundings or situations, you will recognize where you’ve erred because you’ve hidden the Word in your heart.

Keep your compass in a separate location to other electronic devices you carry with you on the hill and ensure, when you are using it, that it is held well away from your body.” Lean not unto your own understanding. New and modern voices may be helpful, but they can wreak havoc if you allow them to become your sole source of direction. Just because it feels good to you, doesn't mean it’s in your best interest.

“Try to get into the habit of checking that your compass is working correctly prior to leaving home.” You can check the temperature of your faith by the Word of God, by what your heart desires and by what you spend your time on. It wouldn't hurt to do a “compass check”: where are you spending the most time? Is what you’re pursuing drawing you closer to God or is it all about your image?

When you face a challenging road during your journey, you need a compass that is well-maintained and reliable— not one that is spinning out of control. The website concluded by saying this; “if you are unsure how to correct your Silva compass, the company has said it will always take back and re-magnetise a compass, no matter how old it is.”

If you find yourself not recognizing where you’re at and struggling to find your way, the Creator of your compass knows exactly how to help you. Get back into His presence and let Him teach you His voice. He will ground you in security and peace and guide your footsteps for the rest of your life. There’s no shame in running to God. I’m sure Silva LTD doesn’t receive an old compass and scold it for getting out of alignment. They simply correct what they know to be a beautifully made instrument. How much more so your Creator?

Heidi Stewart

About Heidi Stewart

Heidi Stewart is from Del City, Oklahoma, where she and her husband serve in music ministry and as youth workers alongside some of the best people in the world. She has a passion to educate, inspire, and help others reach their full potential through mentoring and discipleship. Her heart’s desire is to live a purposeful life, giving glory to Jesus in all of it, by serving the Kingdom with excellence. Follow Heidi on Instagram at @heidistewarttt