'An insight into the holiness of God will always produce a life-style of repentance' [Anon.]

Our roadmap

in Our priorities

A few years ago our family set off on a four-week camping trip down to Sydney. We are not usually the most adventurous when choosing our holiday destinations – our favourite camping place is a mere thirty minutes north of where we live. So, in our minds, this camping trip was more of an expedition rather than just a holiday. This was not something we could just “wing it”, particularly with three young kids and my then-pregnant wife. We thus planed accordingly. We invested much time on the internet looking at driving routes and the distances between potential stopovers, purchased a quality road map, and planned out a travelling itinerary.

As we crossed over the border into New South Wales we felt like we were entering into the “great unknown”. Yet even with the excitement of everything being new and unfamiliar, we had the security that the direction we travelled was consistent with the roadmap, being able to match road signs with the locations on the map. There were only two occasions we got “lost”, both in Sydney and both times we got on the wrong motorway (yes, the same motorway each time) because we were in the wrong lane (we took a while to learn!). Yet even with those unplanned and costly detours, we had the roadmap in hand to help us find our way back to the correct route. The roadmaps served their purpose – after having a great time away we arrived safely home four weeks later.

If we needed a roadmap for our four-week holiday, or expedition, how much more do we need a roadmap for our journey of life?

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The roadmap for this journey, the one that God is inviting you on, is the Bible.

In our trip down to Sydney, we were willing to trust the roadmap to guide our route because we had confidence in its accuracy. While we hadn’t seen the map been drawn, our confidence was based on the reputation and skills of the company producing the map and the continual testing and validation by its users. It would be unwise to put our trust in a map drawn by a five year old, consisting of randomly connected lines drawn over an outline of New South Wales. This map would fulfil none of the above criteria.

It is vitally important that we walk the right path for our life. Where we spend eternity depends on it. Our willingness to use the Bible as our roadmap for our lives will be in direct proportion to whether we believe that the Bible is truth.

Investigative journalist, Lee Strobel, has written a series of books outlining his investigations into the historical evidence supporting the contents of the bible. These books, consisting of in-depth interviews with a range of archaeologists, historians, computer scientists, psychologists and other imminent researchers, all internationally recognised experts in their field, are well worth reading. By no means an exhaustive list, some of the evidence Strobel provides to support the Biblical contents include:

1. There is more historical documentation supporting that the Bible is a reliable source of information than there is for any other book from the ancient world.

2. Archaeology has enhanced the New Testament’s credibility. No discovery has ever disproved a Biblical reference.

3. In defiance of all mathematical odds, dozens of ancient prophesies about the Messiah, including the precise time frame in which he was to appear, were fulfilled in only one person throughout history – Jesus of Nazareth.

4. Sources from outside the Bible corroborate that a man named Jesus of Nazareth lived, that many people believed he healed people, was the Messiah, he was crucified, and despite this death, his followers believed he was still alive and they worshipped him as God.

5. The earliest manuscripts in the New Testament were written when Jesus’ contemporaries were still alive. If the facts written about Jesus were false or exaggerated, the early church would not have taken root and flourished as it did, despite much persecution.

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The Bible is a collection of books written over a period of about 2,000 years in times of war and in days of peace. It was written by people from over 19 different walks of life, including kings, shepherds, doctors, tax collectors, fishermen, farmers and singers. It is incredible that such a library, written by such a diverse group of people over such a period of time is so consistent.

Yet it is so much more than that.

All the evidence in the world supporting the truth of the Bible will mean nothing unless you believe that the Bible, although written by men, is the inspired Word of God.

A claim supported by the Bible itself.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

We have been entrusted with the very words of God.

Books, web sites, messages by eloquent speakers are great resources, but a single reading of the Bible can have more impact than the most brilliantly written or spoken work.

It is a comparison between reading the words of man, or the words of an incomparable God.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

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Consistent with God’s character, God’s words are truth.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)

The truth God gives us in the Bible is not something to look at or admire from a distance. Truth is a living thing. When it grips our minds our lives are changed.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

This truth is the key to experience the freedom that every heart yearns for. The freedom we experience in our lives depends on whether we live according to our real nature; the one God has given us.

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Since we are made in the image of God …

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

… we are truly free when we live our life exactly how God intended us to live.

The great passion in the heart of every human being is to experience the awesome majesty of God’s presence. We however try to fill our lives with everything but God, hoping to somehow satisfy our inward longing through other means. We are continually striving but never coming to the truth of God’s presence. Saint Augustine captured the essence of this desire when he said “Thou has created us for Thyself and we are restless until we rest fully in Thee”

There is only one path to God’s presence and that path is revealed in the Word of God.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)

With the bible in our hands we can know what human nature really is; we can know the way of life that brings our nature to full and complete development. This type of freedom is what the world is searching for. The Bible is the key to this knowledge.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

“I [Jesus] have come into the world as a light, so that no-one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46)

However, knowledge on its own is not enough. Unless we strive to obey Jesus’s commands, we cannot hope to experience this freedom God promises us. As Jesus himself said

“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (John 15:10)

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We can only know how to live our lives in obedience to God if we read His Word, the Bible. As the Psalmist noted….

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)

God tells us through the Bible how to keep on the right path as we walk this journey of life. We learn about God’s character, gain an understanding of what God views as important and what priorities we should have in our own lives as we walk with God.

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. (Psalm 119:37)

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So what roadmap are you using for your life? It would be great to hear from you.

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Other links:

Your invitation to this journey
Knowing God
Our priorities
Trusting God
Worship of God
From bended knees


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