Christmas time is nearly here, and one of my favorite things about this time of year is driving around after dark and seeing all the beautiful light displays people have put up on the outside of their houses! Many are simple yet elegant, but some are truly spectacular in their brilliance! I enjoy driving down one particular street this time of year, because it is lined with beautiful white light displays on either side for at least a couple of miles. They stand out in stark contrast to the dark night sky behind them.
All the Christmas lights remind me of the way that God describes what we as Christians are called to be in Philippians 2:15 – lights that shine brightly in a dark world. Recently my pastor preached on this passage, but he brought out something that I had never really considered very much in connection with this. The very next verse says, “Holding fast the Word of life,” thus connecting our ability to shine as lights in this world with how committed we are to the Word of God! The word “hold” in this verse could also be translated “offer,” or “hold out,” which would give it a slightly different but closely connected meaning. It is only as we are holding firmly to the Word of God ourselves and giving our lives daily to it that the power of God’s Spirit at work within us through His Word will set us apart from the world around us and make them curious to know what makes us different. Often then, if God is at work, this will lead to opportunities for us to share that same Word with them, which alone has the power to transform them just as it is transforming us! What a beautiful picture! God’s Word is not only the means by which we are sanctified, as John 17:17 reminds us, but it is also the fuel for our Christian life (Matt. 4:4) that will enable our lights to keep burning brightly in the darkness all around us!
So the question that I have to ask myself is, how prominent has God’s Word truly been in my life? How much do I prioritize time spent in reading, study, meditation, and memorization of it on a daily basis? If I am honest, probably far less than it deserves! Is it any wonder, then, that my Christian life seems so often to lack the power and vitality that I long for, and my testimony for Christ seems often so ineffective?
I need God by His Spirit to give me a renewed hunger for the eternal food of His Word every day, as well as the insight to understand its meaning for my life so that it will truly impact me on a daily basis! Far too often I am so full of other things to which I have given a higher priority that I have little appetite left for God’s Word and find myself easily distracted and bored with it. Oh that God would show me what lesser things I need to forego so that I have more time and interest left for what is most satisfying and strengthening to my spiritual life!
“Help me understand the meaning of Your precepts so that I can meditate on Your wonders… How sweet Your Word is to my taste – sweeter than honey to my mouth. I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every false way. Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”
Psalm 119:27, 103-105