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Maps are useful tools to help us navigate unfamiliar territory. And we will remain lost without some way to orientate ourselves to the world around us. But maps are not the same as experience – fully entering into and encountering reality. And, in this way, they’re insufficient.

To be sure, maps are necessary. These are the numerous ways in which we make sense of life. For example, theology, philosophy, cultural traditions, and the like are all types of maps – giving us the eyes to interpret the days of our life in meaningful ways.

As such, there’s great wisdom in studying these maps. We’re like blind men groping around in the dark otherwise. But all too often we mistake studying a map for living life. These are not the same.

For instance, studying Scripture is a good spiritual discipline. But the point of studying is so that we can live the life God created us to live. And we rob ourselves of the abundant life Christ came to give us when we just study the map and never live the life.

Said another way, it’s better to put the love we know into practice than to simply have another Bible study. This is not to neglect our study of Scripture, as this will be part of our ongoing growth and maturity. But it’s remembering maps are insufficient substitutes for life itself. 

And so, by all means, let’s study the life of Jesus, and about love, grace, and forgiveness. But much more than merely dusting off our maps, let us live like Jesus and put into practice love, grace, and forgiveness throughout our life and relationships.

We become hypocrites when we just study how to live but fail to actually live.

In the end, continue studying your many maps as these provide a necessary orientation to life. But don’t forget maps can never replace living life to the full.  

Photo by Cristofer Maximilian on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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