By Bear Grylls
Sometimes people ask me about stuff I’ve done. They’ll mention my reaching the top of Everest or surviving a jungle or crossing an ocean — things that they think are successes. But to me these are the least interesting part of my story. And the truth is that behind every summit, every award or achievement that makes it into a neat headline, there is a string of failures. My life is much more of a collection of struggles, doubts, and fears, some of which I overcome, some I don’t.
A more relevant question might be, where does my strength come from? The honest answer is that I often don’t feel very strong. Life can be a battle. We all feel that from time to time. But any strength I do have seems to come in the quiet moments at the start of my day. It comes when I am on my own, on my knees. It comes from taking time to be still with God.
God. For many of us, that’s a difficult word. So might be the words church or Father. To some they might even be painful or negative. But let’s try to see beyond the words to the force behind them. That force is love. Let’s remember that if our Creator really is who he says he is, then he is good. He is calling us home, in a way that is powerfully unique to each of us. He’s on our side, your side. He is holding out a hand, no matter how far we think we’ve fallen.
So God is love? I think so. I mean, that is all that Jesus ever wanted to
share, isn’t it? Love. The force he brought was goodness personified. This love is there to hold us, guide us, strengthen and rescue us. It’s a power that I know I can turn to, however far away I feel.
I don’t turn to God to be religious. In fact, I really battle with religion as such. It seems so divisive and full of rules. Both those things turn me off. Church often portrays itself as so neat and perfect. Life is neither of those things. I kneel simply because it is where I find strength. The whole notion of strength through weakness, connection through honesty, and power through humility is a journey, and I am not very far along the road. But I stay on it, as best I can, because my heart feels it is good.
Even with a lifetime of faith behind me, I find the journey hard. I often mess up. I find myself teetering on the edge more often than you would imagine. So for me, starting my day with God really helps. It is like food. Like good fuel for the soul.
That’s what Soul Fuel is about. It’s the chance to share with you the kind of fuel I rely on every day to try to keep my life on track. Like a firesteel or a length of good rope, my faith is another essential in my arsenal for survival. But it is so much more. It’s my backbone, the heart of it all—the greatest source of any strength I have.
There are intentionally no formal dates on the entries in this book and no reading plan for you to struggle to follow. Soul Fuel is simply 360 separate entries, grouped around the 12 themes that I find myself returning to again and again—hope, purpose, determination, relationships, vision, wisdom, faithfulness, courage, forgiveness, freedom, and risk. And while this book no doubt has flaws, and there’s so much more to say, it’s a start. I really hope it can encourage you to stand strong and tackle life with courage and kindness, secure in the knowledge that you are truly loved and set free in Christ.
What matters most is that we find the courage to reach out and take the hand that’s stretching toward us. That we keep on moving toward the light, inch by inch. And that we never give up.
Faith is a journey, and like all great journeys it is made up of small, faithful steps taken every day.
Don’t underestimate the power of the words of the Bible. So often they have been light to a dark path for me and strength to a failing body. Immanuel Kant said, “The Bible is an inexhaustible fountain of all truths. The existence of the Bible is the greatest blessing which humanity ever experienced.”
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)
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The above article is excerpted from Soul Fuel: A Daily Devotional by Bear Grylls. Copyright © 2019 by BVG Global Limited. Published by Zondervan. Used by permission of Zondervan. zondervan.com. Pages IX-XI. All rights reserved.
Soul Fuel is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
BIO: Bear Grylls (@BearGrylls) is the author of several books that have sold more than 11 million copies worldwide, including the bestselling Mud, Sweat, and Tears, Soul Fuel, and To My Sons: Lessons for the Wild Adventure Called Life. He starred in National Geographic’s television series Man vs. Wild for seven seasons and currently works on his NBC series, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, where he takes celebrities such as Julianne Hough, Marshawn Lynch, Shaquille O’Neal, and Don Cheadle out into the wilderness. Bear is an adventurer known for many exploits, including crossing the North Atlantic Arctic Ocean in a rubber boat, climbing Mount Everest, and running through a forest fire. He is also a dedicated family man to his wife and three sons.
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