As we have done in previous Lent and Advent seasons, we are again blogging our way through the Lenten Lectionary Texts. In this season, our prayer is that we will bless and inspire you in your walk between the Now and Not-Yet of the Kingdom. We pray that our meditations will be life-giving to you in your journey.
A reading from the Psalms.
The LORD is my Shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast before me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
This is the Word of The Lord.
Today’s post originally ran on February 9, 2012.
Our feet take steps. That’s what they were designed for. The steps we take compose our path. Because of the reputation that God has in heaven, because of the fullness of His character, because of the supreme authority that He carries, because of His rank of King of kings and Lord of lords, and because we are His representatives, He guides us in paths of righteousness, so that we have a legal right-standing with God through the blood of Jesus and thereby have a right relationship with God (Psalm 23:3). We’ve all had guides before that we’ve followed and guides that we’ve ignored while we went and did our own thing. “Our own thing” is what I’ve been talking with God about today. My own thing. My own path. My own choices.
I can choose to say, “Yes” to God and walk on the path that He has lit for me. For He — His Word, Jesus — is a light for my feet and a lamp on my path (Psalm 119:105). He doesn’t tell me where we’re going along the way, but He’s lit enough of my path for me to know where to put my feet down next, and He’s told me to simply follow Him. He has told me that His path is one of life (Psalm 16:11).
Or, I can choose to ignore God as my guide. I can choose not to spend the time in His Word with His Word, Jesus, to gain the light I need for my path. I can let worry or doubt or pride convince me to put my feet down at another place along the way.
No matter which choice I make, I have a lamp to guide me. The lamp that guides the righteous is Jesus, the Word of God. The lamp that guides the wicked — haughty eyes and an arrogant heart — is sin (Proverbs 21:4). So, I can choose light as my lamp or darkness as my lamp. Those are my two choices, and I don’t have a third choice. There is the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness. There is not a Kingdom of “My Own.” Why is that? Why can’t I make my own little kingdom somewhere between the light and darkness. Why can’t I sit on the fence?
I don’t own myself (1 Corinthians 6:19). I never have owned myself. I was a slave to sin (Romans 6:6) before the gift of God’s righteous act given through His eternal grace. Jesus, the Lamb of God, gave His life as a sacrifice in order to purchase with His blood men and women for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9). I was owned by the Kingdom of Darkness before Christ redeemed me with His precious blood allowing me to enter the Kingdom of Light. The blood of Jesus has set me free from sin, and I have become a slave to righteousness (Romans 6:18). I have become a slave to God, the benefit I reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life, for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:22-23).
When we leave the path of darkness and came into the path of righteousness, in order to fully receive all that God has for us, we must get rid of everything that possessed and influenced us from the Kingdom of Darkness. The way that we do this is to die to sin (Romans 6:2), for when we are baptized into Christ Jesus, we are baptized into His death (Romans 6:3). Our determined purpose is to fully know Christ, progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly, that we may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection, and that we may so share in His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness even to His death in the hope that we may attain to the resurrection that lifts us out from among the dead even while in the body (Philippians 3:10-11). If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection (Romans 6:5).
So will we count ourselves dead to sin to be alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11)? Rather than offering the parts of our body to sin as instruments of wickedness, we will offer ourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life. We will offer the parts of our body to Him as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13). In Christ, we are a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
Therefore, why would we want to go back to the path of darkness by choosing to ignore God and choosing not to spend time with Jesus, our lamp on our path? Let’s continue in the path of righteousness. Let’s continue saying, “Yes” to God as His Word lights our path. Let’s continue to follow Him with simple childlike faith, knowing that He leads us in life.