The Lamp

I can’t believe that I’ve let my blog go this long without giving thanks for an incredibly important treasure my life – my Bible.

Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without it. As this passage from Psalm 119 indicates, the Bible is absolutely essential for us to navigate around (or sometimes through) the storms of life:

So I have a question for you: are you using your lamp? And is it even switched on?

Consider the alternative – you’re walking around in the dark. Think about how difficult it would be to walk along a path at night with no light. That’s what our lives are like when we try to figure things out without God’s input. Shoot – life is plenty hard even with His sometimes-tough-to-figure-out guidance!

This verse indicates that a lamp does two things:

  1. It shows you what to do (“a lamp to guide my feet”); and
  2. It give you advance notice of what is coming ahead (“a light for my path”).

Both of these things are exceedingly beneficial. Whether you are a Christian or not, wouldn’t you want this information? If it were possible for you to make better informed and wiser decisions, wouldn’t you be interested in doing so?

Yet so many of us stumble around in the dark needlessly. We know where our lamp is located, but we naïvely (or perhaps proudly) feel like we don’t need it. I know that I used to be this way.

I learned the hard way that – after falling into a couple of spiritual ditches – it was better to keep the lamp close to me. In fact, I make a point to switch it on pretty consistently – ideally in the morning, if my schedule so permits – so I have some sense of may be ahead of me that day. I try to incorporate Bible reading into my daily routine, rather than being legalistic and fastidious about it. 

Put another way, I know that God’s love for me is not dependent on whether or not I read my Bible each day! However, it always is to my benefit to do so – even some of the seemingly “dry” parts –  if I am able.

Of course, the Bible is not like a spiritual GPS system. It’s not as if I get up each morning, and Scripture tells me what to eat for breakfast, what job to apply for, or what to wear. Instead, it’s a lot more like an atlas, where you need to be able to appreciate and interpret certain truths relative to others. Consider: 

  • what continents are relative to oceans;
  • what countries and are relative to states and commonwealths;
  • what counties and provinces are relative to cities and towns; and
  • and what districts and neighborhoods are, relative to individual homes and families.

These things – for the most part – are universally understood and applied definitions. However, the United States is a very different country than Luxembourg, and urban London is light years away from life in La Jolla. Regardless, most of us understand the principles of continent, country, state, county, city, district/borough, and neighborhood, and are able to successfully navigate through life based on this information.

So it is with the Bible. It highlights important principles that are universal, but the individual application in each person may look quite different. 

So I’ll ask it again: do you have your lamp nearby? And have you turned it on? Remember: You really have nothing to lose, and almost everything to gain.

Here’s my prayer for today: Dear Lord, thank You for my Bible. I want to thank You for the thousands upon thousands of people throughout history who undertook significant risks, fought, and died so that I might be able to have Your Word so readily accessible today.

I also want to pray for the other parts of the world where access to the Bible has been strictly forbidden – and in some places, reading it is against the law. I pray that Your light of truth will come to those areas, and they will be transformed by the power of Your Word. 

I also pray for my own country, which – although it has ready access to Bibles – sure seems to be stumbling around in the dark in many ways. Help me to remember, though, that it’s up to me to allow Your light shine through me. By the power of your Holy Spirit, remind me that nothing is impossible in or through me (Luke 1:27). Help me to view my life, my circumstances, and the water around me through the lens of complete and total faith in You. Enable me to take bold steps of faith whenever You may require such action – scary though it may be! In Your name I pray, Amen.

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