NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–NASCAR racing continues to grow in popularity. Although I often feel that the car in the next lane on the interstate is about to “swap a little paint” with me as I head home, I know that’s nothing like rush hour at the Daytona 500. It is amazing how those guys drive within inches of each other at nearly 200 mph. They all work in unison to keep the pack moving around the track, because even a minor mistake can send cars smashing into concrete walls and sliding across the grass infield.
But what if the drivers were blindfolded?
“Blindfolded?” you ask. Yeah, sure. They are expert drivers and many times they effortlessly blow through 500 miles without a challenge. Blindfolds would really test their ability. They’d have to navigate around the crashes and through the smoke without actually seeing the pitfalls ahead. It would make races that much more interesting.
Of course this is a ludicrous idea. Even with the incredible ability of NASCAR drivers, it would be ridiculous to expect that a single driver could make it around the track blindfolded at even school-zone speeds. So, Christian, why do you believe you’d fare any better racing the course of life blindfolded without ever looking in the Bible to see how the course is laid out?
Unfortunately, that is exactly what too many of us do. We race out of our houses every day and into the fast lane of our busy lives without preparing for the pitfalls ahead. It’s no wonder the slightest trial often can send us spinning toward a crash or leave us scrambling to make repairs.
God never intended for us to live the Christian life blindfolded. He gave us the manual for successfully maneuvering in a broken world. The Bible addresses every issue we could possibly face and steers us toward a Savior who strengthens us. Listen, you know that the Christian life isn’t always easy. It is a call to discipline. It is a call to resist evil. It is a call to consistently focus on God and not the problems of this world. Learning how to overcome life’s stress only comes through reading Scripture.
Interestingly, John Adams, one of our nation’s founders, believed the great need for an American educational system was because it taught people to read the Bible for themselves. Adams said that no government could fully be expected to work unless citizens acknowledged the Creator from whom it came. Acknowledgment and understanding came through Bible reading.
Older Russians wept when presented with Bibles after the fall of the Iron Curtain. They told missionaries they remember the days when Bibles were available and a part of their lives. The Bibles they received were like cool water to a thirsty man because for decades they’d been deprived of the refreshment that comes from reading God’s Word.
I pray for a revival in Bible reading across our country. Southern Baptists have always considered themselves “People of the Book,” but we’ve strayed from that claim. This past year at the Southern Baptist Convention, we as a denomination designated 2005 as the Year of the Bible. It is a public call for each individual to commit to reading the Bible through during the next 12 months. We’ve stated collectively that we believe the Bible to be “a perfect treasure of divine instruction” and is ultimately “a testimony to Christ who is Himself the focus of divine revelation” (Baptist Faith and Message 2000). We must read it for ourselves if we are to mine this rich instruction to know Christ and to make His name known among the nations.
It was with this urgency in mind that Broadman & Holman, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources, developed the “Everyday With Jesus Bible.” It is a systematic plan to take you through the Bible in a year. Included are devotionals by noted author Selwyn Hughes to help with the application of what’s read. We’ve also developed a website, www.EveryDayWithJesusBible.com, to help. It displays sample pages from the Bible and includes posters churches can download and print to publicize a collective commitment to Bible reading. There is also the complete one-year reading plan designed to help ministers prepare sermons correlating to the week’s readings.
NASCAR drivers would never get behind the steering wheel wearing blindfolds and we should never pull into the fast lane of life without first reading our road map — the Bible.
James T. Draper Jr. is president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.