Let The Lamp Light Up Your Path

The Advent is the season when the church celebrates the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ, the “Word becoming flesh”. The second Sunday in the advent season is earmarked as Bible Sunday to help us celebrate the gift of the Bible, the written Word becoming available to us. We must be thankful to God for the Bible that we hold in our hands. It was made possible through the blood and sweat of several servants of God, like John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, William Carey, Bartholomaeo Ziegenbalg, Benjamin Bailey, John Hands, and a host of others, who sacrificed their lives for the translation and distribution of God’s Holy Word.

Need for the Light

By December 2005 portions of Scripture were available in more than 2400 languages of the world, while complete Bibles were available in 426 of those languages. Bibles are available in 52 Indian languages and at least a portion of Scripture has been translated into more than 180 languages. According to official census there are 1652 languages and dialects in India. Experts say that with 300 strategic languages we can cover the entire population of our country. Still, it is a very long way to go. It is the responsibility of every Christian to involve in the task of bringing God’s Word to the people of his land. We need to pray, we need to give, and we need to share.

But, still more important, I feel, is our personal encounter with the Word of God. We can give the life giving Word to all those around and still be lost if we ourselves are not touched by it. If we look into the Word of God we can find why it is so important in the life of a Christian.

One night, several years ago, my brother Shaji was walking to the house of one of our friends. He was a new Christian at that time and he met with other friends regularly for prayer and Bible Study. He was passing through a hill side with thick rubber plantation. These rubber trees grow tall and wide and spread like a canopy above you. So it will be dark already by evening. And the ground will be covered with layers of dry leaves that fall from the trees. People trek across these plantations to avoid taking longer routes. Shaji was taking one of those usual short cuts. As he kicked through the heaps of dry leaves suddenly he felt a sting on his feet. He jumped back. In the quiet of the night he could hear movements over the dry leaves, like the sound of something crawling away. It must be a snake, he thought. But, is it just a rat snake or one of those deadly cobras or vipers? He could only guess because he did not have a flash light or a torch to light the path way. He didn’t want to take chances; immediately pulled out his hand kerchief and tied it as tight as he could below his knee, around the calf muscle. Then he rushed down to our friend’s house shouting his name. People came out of the house hearing the shout and he told them to take him to the hospital. They rushed him to the Mandiram Hospital on the other side of the hill. The doctor asked him about the snake but he had no idea. He could not see it in the dark. Doctor was confused about which anti venom to use. “You all pray”, He said, “I will take a chance and keep him under observation till morning”. They prayed and he survived. Later the doctor told him it was a deadly viper that had bit him.

We need light to see our way. We need light to decide which way to take. We need light to see the dangers that are on our way. We are all lost without the Light in this dark world of sin.

In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The secret of not groping in the darkness is to have the Light of Life. To have the Light of Life we need to follow the Light. How do we follow the Light? Psalm 119 sheds light on it. It says the Word of God will show us the Light and help us follow the Light. In Ps.119:105 we read, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Personal Touch

Here we need to get it right. This is a very personal statement of the Psalmist. In other words, the Psalmist has experienced it in his life; he has experienced the Word of God as the lamp showing the way. There are general statements like, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1Tim.1:15). It doesn’t have to be a personal declaration. Someone can repeat this without believing it even a bit. It becomes personal when you answer the question, “What does that mean to me?” People repeat scripture passages like “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”, without realizing that it is a personal affirmation. I need to ask myself whether the Lord really is MY shepherd!

How can the Word become personal? When you allow the Word to do a surgery in your life! It can do a scanning to locate the cancer and prescribe the remedy. Does that happen in your life? Look at Heb.4:12. “For the Word of God is 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. Nothing is hidden from God’s sight, everything is uncovered and laid bare before Him.” When you allow this scalpel of God to cut through you, to reach your soul and spirit, joint and marrow, to deal with your innermost being, to uncover and expose the real you – a wretched sinner in need of the Saviour, then and only then the Word will become personal to you.

Is the Word of God affecting your life? Is it helping you to find the way on a dark day? Is it shedding light in your pathway? If you want God’s Word to be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path you need to make a definite commitment to yield to its surgical intervention in your life.

Commitment to Obey the WORD

Keeping the Light in their hands and homes many Christians are still groping in the dark because they have not made up their minds to follow the light. You must be willing to walk the way the light reveals. You must be willing to obey what God’s Word says. There is no dearth of preaching and Bible Studies yet there are plenty of Christians standing at crossroads unable to make a decision. They have not made a definite commitment to obey God explicitly. In Job 24:13 (NLT) we read, “Wicked people rebel against the light. They refuse to acknowledge its ways or stay in its paths.” Bible study without a commitment for obedience is worse than no study at all because it increases carnality and invites the judgment of God. If you want God’s Word to show the light you need to make a definite decision to follow it. The Psalmist says in v.106, “I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.” In v.110 he says, “The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.” He made a decision to obey God’s Word and a commitment to stick on with it no matter what, may it be “suffering” as in v.107 or risks as in v.109, or “snares” as in v.110.

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Saviour and Master, this is covered under that decision. If you have not taken it seriously, you can make a commitment now to follow Him and obey whatever He says. This is the starting point of walking in the light. As a student, way back in 1971, I made a commitment to follow the Lord and obey His Word. How about you?

Commitment to Study the WORD

The Bible is God’s letter to us. Through it He is sharing His desires, plans and instructions with His beloved children. To understand God’s mind we need to read it. Some times we need to read it over and over to follow the thoughts of God and to register in our minds the instructions. We need to take time and effort, use all available help, and study God’s instructions.

Fix up a convenient time of the day. Read through the Scripture book by book, using some kind of reading plan, like the Daily Bread. Take down notes or keep a diary to note down the important principles you discover, the promises to claim and commands to keep. Put down how you are going to apply it or the action that you will take and start doing it immediately.

Be willing to learn and to apply it, making amendments in your life wherever needed. Remember, Bible study without application is debasing, it is joining hands with the enemy. Don’t accumulate the wrath of God through Bible studies if you have no commitment to obey what God’s Word commands. The Psalmist prays in v.108, “Accept O Lord the willing praise of my mouth and teach me your laws”. Do you take time to study God’s Word? Do you do it regularly? May be you have made decisions earlier but broke it. Why not renew the commitment to study God’s Word?

Commitment to Meditate on the WORD

Meditation is occupying our minds with what we have read and studied. We need to reflect on what God’s Word says. It is a profitable practice to memorize scripture passages. That will help us in our reflection and that will pop up in our minds in times of need. God will use it to speak and reassure us of His promises. When we begin to drift in our daily walk this will alert us like an alarm. As we keep meditating on His Word we become aligned to His will.

Have you observed cattle graze? They do it in a hurry and then they lie down to relax in a quiet place. That is when they really enjoy the food as they chew the cud. We must learn to dwell up on the Word of God on a regular basis. The Psalmist says in v.109, “Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.” In v.11 of the same Psalm he says, “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” How about you? Do you consciously install the Word of God in your heart so that it can warn you and guide you in your daily affairs? Do you reflect and dwell up on the Word of God?

Commitment to Treasure the Word

In Mat.6:19-21 Jesus said, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth where moth and rust will destroy or thieves will steal… Your heart will always be where your treasure is”. The Psalmist says in Ps.119:111, “Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.” In the next verse he says, “My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.” (v.112) In Psalm 19:10 David says God’s Word is “more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb”. Ps.119:127 says, “Your laws mean more to me than the finest gold”. “Your word to me, your servant, is like pure gold; I treasure what you say” (Ps.119:140). Read through the entire Psalm 119 to realize how the Psalmist cherishes the Word of the Lord.

What gives you the greatest joy? Your family, your job, your possessions, your position, your power, flattering subordinates! All the worldly treasures will vanish. The wealth of the world can not provide security or else the wealthiest nations wouldn’t be living in terror. Others can rob us of our material wealth but no one can take away the peace, the eternal life, the promise and the assurance of salvation that the Word of God gives us. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Words shall never pass away”, said Jesus.

What is the greatest treasure that you would want to pass on to your children? Property, Bank balance, Education! People give their children everything in the world but not the Word of God. What heritage do you want to pass on to your children? Do you want them to have the eternal treasure that will lead them to eternal life, or the worldly treasures that will soon vanish? You need to decide.

A commitment to Study, Meditate, Obey and Treasure the Word of God will light up your path and lead you to eternal life.

Many years ago there was an accident at a Railway crossing. There was no gate at this crossing but a gate keeper was appointed to be there at night. He gave signal using a kerosene lamp. It was raining heavily one night and in spite of his waving the signal lamp a speeding train ran into a car and several people were killed. The case was on trial and the gate keeper was questioned by the magistrate.

“Where you on duty that night”? He asked.

“Yes your Honour”, the gate keeper replied.

“Did you wave the lamp to warn the driver”?

“Yes, I did, your Honour”.

“How did you wave”?

The gate keeper raised his right hand as if holding the lamp and waved it few times.

The trial was over and the gate keeper was declared not guilty. But all through the trial he was looking disturbed and restless. After the proceedings were over when he came out of the court room, one of his friends asked him why he was looking disturbed and restless. Pulling his friend to a corner the gate keeper said, “I was troubled throughout because I was worried whether he will ask me if the lamp was lit”.

Is the Lamp in your life burning bright? Is God’s Word a Lamp to your feet and light to your path? Make a decision today to study, to meditate, to obey and to treasure the Word of God in your life on a daily basis. If you had made a decision earlier and had failed in keeping it, commit yourself into the hands of God and ask for grace to follow through your decision. Will you make that Commitment right now? May the Word of God be a Lamp to your feet and a light to your path, all the days of your life!

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