The Best Road Map
In George Foreman’s book, God in My Corner, the former heavyweight boxing champion writes: “In 1974, before I went to Africa to fight Muhammad Ali, a friend gave me a Bible to take along on my trip. He said, ‘George, keep this with you for good luck.’ I believed the Bible was just a shepherd’s handbook, probably because the only verse I knew was ‘the Lord is my shepherd.’ But I was always looking for luck, so I carried that Bible with me. I had lucky pennies and good luck charms, so now I added the ‘lucky’ Bible to my collection of superstitious items.
After I lost the fight, I threw the Bible away. I never even opened it. I thought, The Bible didn’t help me win, so why do I need it? I thought I’d get power simply from owning it; I didn’t realize that I needed to read it and believe what it says. Since then, I’ve come to understand that the Bible is my road map, not my good luck charm.”
Unfortunately, people misunderstand and misuse God’s word, like George Foreman did in his early days. They do not see God’s word as a form of communication where God reveals Himself to us, the way to be rightly related to Him through faith in Jesus Christ and how to grow in Christ's likeness. The word encourages us to live lives that glorify God and follow His will. 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV, makes that plain, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” The NLT states, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” John 17:17 NIV says, “Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth.”
Jesus talked about His word as a man who built his house upon a rock foundation rather than a dirt foundation: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock." (Matthew 7:24 ESV) When the storms of life came, it stood strong because the foundation was built on His truth. The Bible gives us objective truth. It gives us perspective. It gives us hope. It gives us the assurance we need to journey through life and ultimate glorify Him. It helps us understand what is really important and what, in the end, really matters. It is like trying to play football without ever reading and applying the playbook. It just doesn’t work. The Bible is God’s playbook for our life. It needs to be used, properly interpreted and applied. Truly, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105 ESV)
When David Livingstone began his trek across Africa in 1852, he carried 73 books which together weighed 180 pounds. After he had gone 300 miles, he had to throw away some of the books because it was not feasible to carry so many through the jungle. He continued throwing away books as he journeyed further into the jungle. Eventually, his library had shrunk to just one book—the Bible. This book he did not throw away. Thank you Lord, this morning, for your word and how it can encourage us, empower us, and transform us to be more like Jesus. Thank you Lord, that your word gives us strength. It is the one book we do not want to throw away, neglect or misuse.
As we close, we extend our love and prayers to Christina Hall in the passing of her Grandmother and Mary Hicks in the passing of her sister. May God's strength and grace be yours this day.
Take heart this morning, my friends, because Jesus “has overcome the world.” Keep safe and keep in His love
– Pastor Ralph