The Light of the World
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19, ESV)
This is the time of the year when daylight grows short. It is getting dark where I live before 5 pm. You go further north and it gets dark even earlier. In places like Barrow, Alaska, the sun will not rise again until late in January.
The darkness can be depressing. There are many people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder that is caused by the lack of daylight.
The shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere is the winter solstice that takes place on December 21. But the daylight will begin to grow longer every day from that point until the summer solstice in June.
We need light! You cannot survive in the dark. If there was no light, there would be no plants and we would starve to death. Without light, we cannot see. We would not be able to get anywhere. Light is so essential that it is the very first element that God created. On the first day, he said, “Let there be light.” (see Genesis 1:3)
How appropriate that we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25, just a few days after the winter solstice. Light has dawned! Jesus is the light of the world. Light conquers the darkness. The darkness may have its time but it is a new day. Jesus is born, the light of the world.
The Light of the Word
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105, ESV)
We need God’s light and we receive the light of God through the Word of God. The Word exposes our sin and short-comings. It reveals places in our lives that are out-of-alignment with God’s will for us. This allows us to receive God’s grace and forgiveness to realign ourselves to his calling
The Word also directs our steps. There are so many times when a verse I read in my morning devotion is applicable to something that happens in my afternoon. The Word gives us wisdom to live the full and abundant life that God desires for us.
The bottom line is that the light of the Word makes our lives better. Open the Word, read the Word, reflect upon the Word, and you will be blessed.
You may say you don’t have time. You may think you are too busy. That is all the more reason you need the Word. Without the Word, you are living in the darkness. The reason you don’t have the time, that you are so overwhelmed, and feel you are too busy is because you keep your Bible closed.
Make the time. If you have time to read Facebook, you have the time. If you have time to watch a show on Netflix, you have the time. If you have time to cheer for your favorite football team, you have the time. If you have time to check your email, you have the time. If you have time to read the latest mystery novel, you have time. If you have time to exercise, you have the time. If you have time to go shopping, you have the time.
You have the time! We make the time for the things that are important to us. When we fail to open the Word, it is not that we don’t have the time, it is just that we make other things more important. And while it may not be important to you, it is important for you. There is nothing that is more important for you.
Several years ago, a study was done, to look at what things helped people to grow spiritually. It was not church attendance, it was not Bible Study, it was not serving. The #1 thing that helped people grow spiritually was to read the Scriptures on their own. Nothing else came close.
How will you make the time? To get started, you might consider deleting your Facebook app on your phone. Install the Bible app. Every time you are tempted to open your Facebook app, open the Bible app in its place.
Do you see how that works? To say yes to a new commitment, you need to say no to something else. This is not about adding something new to do. It is about realigning your life for what is most essential.
There is no doubt that to read the Scriptures consistently requires discipline. It is a Spiritual discipline. It takes commitment. It takes encouragement. There will come a time when it seems like you are not receiving a benefit. It will not be as “rewarding” as getting a shot of dopamine from checking social media. But the rewards of discipline are not discovered in the short-term. Discipline is rewarded through the consistency of time.
Now is a great time to start thinking about a Bible Reading Plan for 2020. I usually publish a Bible Reading Plan. But the Bible app already provides hundreds of plans to chose from. So I will not be publishing a plan for the new year. I want to encourage you to use one of their plans.
I also don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all plan. Chose the one that’s right for you. If you have never read the Scriptures consistently, you might start with a plan to read just one book. Here is a great plan to read the Gospel of John in 10 days: https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/88-john. If you have had difficulty sticking with reading the Bible consistently, you might consider a plan to read the New Testament over the course of a year. Here is a plan that would help you do that: https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/10824-daily-new-testament-quarter-1. I use a plan where I read the entire Bible in a year. If you are just starting out, I do not recommend this approach. But if you want to use the plan I will use, I am likely going to use the Bible Project Reading Plan for 2020.
There are many other plans to chose from. They have plans for Advent and Christmas. There are plans to help you understand what the Bible has to say about almost any experience you may be going through in life. The Bible app is a great resource to help us let the light of God shine in our lives. And the best thing is that it is free!
- How will you prioritize the Word of God?
- Do you have a Bible Reading Plan? If not, pick one out today!
- How do you reflect upon your daily Bible reading to apply the light of the Word to your life?
Lord Jesus, you tell us that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Help us to live by the light of the Word. Give us the courage and commitment to open the Word to expose the darkness places in our lives and to guide us on your path. Help us to treasure your Word and to not take it for granted. In your name we pray. Amen!