Psalm 119:105 (King James Version)
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
After wrapping up the dinner/bath/book/bed routine with the kids, I started out on my 3-lap walk around our neighborhood. I had been wallowing in regret as a result of last week's backslide, and hadn't made much of an effort to reconnect with God since then.
Meanwhile, the inevitable, guilt-induced malaise had set in. Realizing that then was the perfect time to come crawling back, I thought, "It would be nice to see what God is up to...I should check in with him."
The Lord immediately laid it upon my heart that I should Tweet about repenting. I sensed that there were probably a few folks out there that may have struggled with their own "thorn in the flesh" this week, and like me were waiting to "get back to good" before getting back to God.
Again, it's so arrogant of us to think like that. God calls the shots around here, not us! When will we learn this basic concept?
Thus, this Tweet was born:
Getting back to "where you were" with God has never been easier: 1) Stop. 2) Turn around. He's been following you the whole time.
— Kevin D. Ammons (@KevinAmmons) May 29, 2014
I then prayed over the Tweet before sending it, asking God to bless the words according to His will.
I was immediately struck by the inadvertently omitted "step 3) Say you're sorry". I began telling God how sorry I was for having disobeyed.
We should say we're sorry, but don't think that we need to say we're sorry in order to be used again by God. Remember, He calls the shots (not us). I explored this notion in another blog post entitled "Empty Canvas In A Room Full of Paint".
He graciously gave me the following illustration, and I am so thankfully glad to share it with you:
When I walk at night, I always carry a flashlight, allowing it to swing with my hand alongside me as a result of my natural gait.
God showed me that He (His Word) is a light unto my path...but, unless I make a conscious effort to hold the Christ light steady in front of me, the light on the path will come and go as I allow my arms to swing freely, naturally.
It takes more effort, and is counter to what the natural self desires (which is to have both arms swing freely as you walk), to put God front and center in our lives.
We must carry the light of Christ out in front of us in order to always be walking in His light. This is not to say that we can't be used by God as we walk naturally, with intermittent illumination; we certainly can. But, if we want to be sure footed (and even run), we should always keep His light shining on the path ahead.
THEN, God shared with me, that we could walk in the dark, and trust Him to keep us safe (I imagined walking around our house at night in the dark). But, it will be a much more deliberate making our way through this world- this dark world- and will by default be much, much slower. We can't possibly get as much done for God in the dark, as we can in His light.
AND, God also brought to my mind
1 John 1:7 (New International Version)
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
God showed me the ambient light from the neighbors' front porch lights. During the times when I would pass these illuminated houses, my Christ light in front of me would not need to shine as brightly on the sidewalk in front of me...but, it shone with the same intensity nonetheless. It's just that I received help from those around me, to better see the way ahead.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, God also showed me the street lights placed intermittently throughout the neighborhood. These are milestones or highlights in our Christian walks. As mentioned before, we may not even need the light in front of us, as we pass underneath the bright light from above.
However, take note of your shadow that proceeds out of the bright light before you. Always be mindful of your shadow. For when you see it go before you, you know that you are once again entering the dark, and you better make sure to have your Christ light shining at the ready, lest your shadow disappear and leave you alone once again, attempting to find your way.
When we begin to take our eyes off the path ahead (back slide) during those easy times, we are acutely aware of the darkness around us. We feel as if we are all alone as we slip back into the darkness rather quickly. And for whatever reason, we tend to want to dwell therein (alone) for a little while longer, until we can muster enough courage to face God and ask for His illumination once more.
Why do we linger in the darkness as if alone?
Because we don't fully understand that Christ has already paid the price for the guilt and shame of sin that plagues us when we are not fully convinced that we are His, and that He has redeemed us by His grace.
Going Forward:We should always remember that God never leaves us nor forsakes us.
Deuteronomy 31:8 (New International Version)
8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
When we find ourselves wandering in the dark, we simply need to re-position our "Christ light" to the forefront of our lives and keep on walking.
Thanks and praise be to God for his ongoing illumination.