We’ve all gotten lost and had to make a decision about which way to turn in order to not be lost anymore. Sometimes there is time to make a calculated, educated choice, but often it is a last minute, impulse, panicky guess. It’s never a good feeling.
It’s never a good feeling to suddenly realize that you are spiritually lost either. Maybe you didn’t know you were lost. Maybe you even thought you were fine and had a good relationship with God. Maybe you knew it, but were in denial. But then something highlighted your lostness. Maybe it was a Scripture or a Bible study. Maybe you gave in to temptation. Maybe it was the example of a godly person. Maybe someone talked to you. Maybe something caused the fear of death. Whatever it was, you’re feeling that sinking feeling of being lost. Now what?
No turn. Some of us have to admit that when we’re lost we won’t ask for directions and we won’t turn around. There’s a pride or stubbornness thing that keeps us from getting help. Warning: Spiritually, this is called having a “hard heart”: “…the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them” (Mt 13:15).
Impulse turn. Some of us change, but still don’t know where we’re going. It’s change just to change, or to look like we know what we’re doing. Again, this is a pride problem that won’t accept input. Just doing something or feeling better about our path doesn’t change anything spiritually. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weights the hearts” (Pr 21:2).
Calculated turn. Some of us will ask for help, but wind up receiving bad directions from someone as lost as we are! First John 4:1 warns us to “…not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Faith turn. Some of us realize we’re lost, ask the right person for directions, and make the necessary corrections to go the right way. Acts 20:21 describes this spiritually as, “…repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice that it is first a change of mind (repentance) which doesn’t just turn, but turns “toward God”. And it is based on faith that is directed at or in our Lord Jesus Christ. That means our turn is because of Jesus and what He has done for us. That means that our turn is because we have faith in, we trust, that His way is right and best.
Everyone is lost in sin until we find, listen to, and turn toward God. Remaining lost, remaining in our sin doesn’t make any sense. But turning to God, going His way to heaven is truly the only reasonable response.