You Need Light for Your Path
More than six billion people on this planet are trying to navigate through an increasingly interconnected world of spiritual confusion and moral weakness. Is this all the fault of Adam and Eve’s sin? Not really. Even in their sinless garden, the first man and woman were not equipped to figure out life on their own. We know this because God immediately began to speak to them and direct them as soon as they were created and before the serpent ever uttered a word.
By themselves, Adam and Eve would have had no idea who they were or why they existed; no idea how to spend their days. So we see that from the very beginning we were created to be dependent on God, to be willing listeners and humble receivers. God’s Word, spoken directly to man, would give us sure and certain guidance.
Now if this was true of Adam and Eve before sin entered the world, how much more true is it of you and me, who have never known a single sinless day, and are constantly bombarded by unbiblical messages from the world? Certainly, we need to be careful to trust in what we can be sure of.
No passage gets at this need and God’s provision better than Psalm 119:105.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
When do you need a lamp? Well, you probably wouldn’t pack a flashlight for a picnic lunch in the park. But you wouldn’t think of taking that nighttime walk through the woods without one. And which scenario is more like life in this fallen world: a picnic lunch, or midnight in the woods? You mustn’t try to live as if life is a sunny afternoon picnic. Sin has plunged your world into darkness. On any given day you probably encounter far more falsehood than you do truth. So if you’re going to move forward, to make your way without danger, and get to where you are meant to go, you need something to light your way.
You need light for your marriage and your parenting. You need light for your job and your relationships with your neighbours. You need light for your struggles with desires and temptations. You need light to help you deal with the unexpected. You need light to cope with new difficulties that emerge. You need light for when you’ve been sinned against. You need light to deal with weaknesses of the body and hardships of the heart. You need light for those moments when you’re alone and overwhelmed. You need light for all those unknowns that will show up on your doorstep tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and for the rest of your life.
You don’t need to bloody your nose and bruise your toes by bumping into trees and tripping over roots. You don’t have to grope around fearfully in the darkness. The Light of the World has graced you with the light of his Word. It will shine around your feet in the midst of the darkness so you needn’t stumble and fall. Listen to the reflections of that great nineteenth century preacher, Charles Spurgeon on this passage.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet.” We are walkers through the city of this world, and we are often called to go out into its darkness; let us never venture there without the light giving word, lest we slip with our feet. Each man should use the word of God personally, practically, and habitually, that he may see his way and see what lies in it. When darkness settles down upon all around me, the word of the Lord, like a flaming torch, reveals my way.
Having no fixed lamps in eastern towns, in old time each passenger carried a lantern with him that he might not fall into the open sewer, or stumble over the heaps of ordure which defiled the road. This is a true picture of our path through this dark world: we should not know the way, or how to walk in it, if Scripture, like a blazing flambeau, did not reveal it. One of the most practical benefits of Holy Writ is guidance in the acts of daily life: it is not sent to astound us with its brilliance, but to guide us by its instruction. It is true the head needs illumination, but even more the feet need direction, else head and feet may both fall into a ditch.
– Paul Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is “Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.” Tripp has written many books on Christian living that are read and distributed internationally. He has been married for many years to Luella, and they have four grown children. For more information, visit www.paultrippministries.org.