How to Use a GPS (1 Nephi 16)

by | Mar 2, 2016 | Scripture Study | 2 comments


A Global Positioning System receiver (GPS) is a very useful device that has gained widespread use over the past 10 years or so. The purpose of the GPS is simple: It helps you get to where you want to go. Using a GPS is quite easy:

  • Turn on the device.
  • Tell it where you want to go.
  • Follow the instructions it gives you.

Although the device is easy to use, there are a few things you need to do to ensure a successful trip.

  • You need to be able to articulate where you want to go.
  • You need to be able to hear the directions (turn down loud music, hush loud family members)
  • You need to have faith in the device. (It can’t help you if you don’t follow its directions.)

In 1 Nephi 16, Lehi discovers a “ball of curious workmanship,” later identified as the Liahona, that operates very similar to a GPS.

  • It had two spindles, one of which pointed the way that they should go in the wilderness.
  • The spindles worked according to the “faith and diligence and heed” which was given to them.
  • Words appeared on it, which gave additional understanding concerning the ways of the Lord.

Since it would be over 2,500 years until the GPS satellites would be launched, clearly God Himself operated this Liahona device. In this and subsequent chapters, the people discovered that as long as they were seeking to follow God and exhibiting faith, the device showed them the way to go. When their faith and service were lacking, the device failed to operate.

Today, God offers each of us our own spiritual GPS — it’s called the Holy Ghost. How do you use it?

You need to “turn it on.”

How? By getting baptized and having the ministry pray for you afterward. You then receive the Holy Ghost.

You need to tell it where you want to go.

Here’s where it can be a little tricky. The temptation is to actually try to tell it where you want to go. The correct answer is to tell the Holy Ghost you want to go where God wants you to go.

You need to be able to hear the directions.

When you pray for direction, listen for the response. You may hear it as a voice, or it may come as a thought or as a feeling. It may come immediately, or it may take some time. If you’re having a hard time hearing the response, turn down some of the distractions in your life so you can focus on your communication with God.

You need to have sufficient faith to follow God’s direction.

Just like when you’re driving in a totally unfamiliar area and you have to trust the GPS to direct you, you need to trust God to lead you through areas of your life where you have no idea what lies ahead but you just know where you want to end up (exactly where God wants you to be!).

Hopefully this little “operator’s manual” will help you to get the most out of your spiritual GPS. The directions for this GPS come from a lot higher up than the GPS satellites — imagine how much better the view of the big picture is from up there!

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.



  1. Linda Scolaro

    Beautiful and inspiring. Just what i needed to read in seeking God’s direction for a new job.

  2. Teri-Lyn Tunno

    I loved this blog. Trusting that God has a plan and direction for me confounds me sometimes. Thank you for the beautiful reminder! 🙂


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