Imagine you’re in a large dark auditorium, and the only light available is the touch light on your phone. You won’t see much, and there’s a good chance you will trip on things around you. Now imagine the same space lit by floodlights. You would be able to see every object in the room. It’s unlikely that you would bump into anything. In both cases, there was light in the space. However, the degree of illumination determined the ease with which you could navigate the room. A preacher used that analogy to demonstrate the value of continuously searching God’s word for greater understanding and revelation. It helped me immensely because just as luminescence matters in an auditorium, our level of spiritual illumination affects our ability to experience the abundant life God promised us.
The psalmist says: “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path” [Psalm 119:105]. Traversing dark paths may be unfamiliar to many, so let’s amend the context to driving. In modern cars, the quality of the headlamps in unfavourable conditions is a selling point because the better a driver sees, the likelier he is to avoid danger, especially in adverse situations. God’s word offers the believer something similar because it gives believers the wisdom they require to navigate life circumspectly and avoid pitfalls [2 Timothy 3:15, Ephesians 5:15]. It also contains prophetic revelations that enable us to see the past, present and future from God’s perspective [2 Peter 1:20-21]. Thus, it can give believers a unique viewpoint imperceptible to the rest of the world. That said, the degree to which we profit from Scripture is the degree to which it’s a lamp for our feet.
It’s great to know and memorise Bible verses, but being able to recite them doesn’t mean we understand them or possess the revelation required to apply its truths in our lives successfully. The size of a bulb doesn’t necessarily correlate with its brightness. In Jesus’s day, the Pharisees could recite chapter and verse but didn’t recognise the True Light [John 1:9]. They lacked revelation; they were blind guides [Matthew 15:14]. Elsewhere Paul highlights that it’s possible to learn continuously and never arrive at the truth [2 Timothy 3:7]. So, an individual could hold a doctorate in Theology, Psychology and Philosophy and still be bankrupt of light. What’s worse, knowing much can lead to pride [1 Corinthians 8:1]. Consequently, our level of spiritual illumination isn’t dependent on how much of the Bible we can recite but on the revelation we possess from its pages.
So, how do we obtain light from the Bible? Through the Holy Spirit – the Author of the Scriptures [2 Timothy 3:16]. We cannot glean any revelation from the Bible without Him [Job 32:8]. Here’s where I believe our motive for reading God’s word matters. The word of God is alive and active, able to discern our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts [Hebrews 4:12]. So, if people peruse the Bible as an academic or historical book out of intellectual curiosity, confirmation bias, or to impress others, it does little for them. But those truly seeking God, who genuinely thirst for Him [Psalm 19:7-12, Psalm 42:1-4], will receive revelation and more [Matthew 7:7, Acts 20:32, Hebrews 11:6]. Such people desire to know God’s ways and experience His glory, and Jesus promises they will be satisfied [Exodus 33:13,18, Matthew 5:6].
Everyone who believes in Jesus possesses light since it takes understanding and revelation to accept and confess Jesus as Lord [Romans 10:9-10]. However, we all start our journeys of faith as neophytes, but we must push on from that stage to work out our salvation [Philippians 2:12]. Sadly, many remain infants in the faith and refuse to mature [Hebrews 5:13-14]. As such, their light remains minute, and darkness – a word synonymous with ignorance in Scripture may overcome it. That implies that spiritual ignorance is a choice for many people – a natural consequence of refusing to grow. Today, there are multiple translations of the Bible, a plethora of commentaries and concordances – resources many of our ancestors never imagined. Yet, how many of us have taken full advantage of that abundance of knowledge [Daniel 12:4]?
It’s written of Jesus, the True Light who came into the world, that the darkness couldn’t comprehend (or overwhelm) His light [John 1:5, 9]. Today, He calls us to be light [1 Peter 2:9] and walk in the light just like He did [Isaiah 2:5, Ephesians 5:8-9], that is, to live above reproach with integrity and character. Such a life relies on godly wisdom to navigate daily challenges righteously by continually drawing insight from God’s word and diligently applying it with discernment and humility. The more we seek guidance from God’s word, the more illuminated our path becomes. Consequently, we’ll be surer about where we place our feet – unworried about stumbling. Such is the confidence of those who possess light.
In Scripture, light is often a synonym for knowledge and discernment. Likewise, darkness is often a synonym for ignorance. So, it’s significant when Peter says grace and peace are multiplied through knowledge [2 Peter 1:2]. Divine assistance (grace) and freedom from anxiety (peace) are fundamental if we want to live triumphant lives like the sons of Issachar in these evil days [1 Chronicles 12:32, Ephesians 5:15-16]. Most of us have a Bible within reach. Within its pages is all the wisdom we’ll ever need for life and godliness [Psalm 119:130, 2 Peter 1:3]. Take full advantage! Irrespective of what you already know, there’s more. So, build your wattage and shine as brightly as you can to the glory of your heavenly Father [Matthew 5:16].