My Favorite Bible Verse…or Not
trust the light to our path

The world around us is becoming increasingly challenging.

  • Challenging to live out our Christian faith in a morally relativistic culture.
  • Challenging to share the joy of our faith in a world that is not only uninterested, but hostile to a biblical world view.
  • And challenging as we face the uncertainty of a future that seems perilously out of control.

What do you do when you feel challenged?

Where do you go for answers?

How do you decide on the right course of action?

If I’m being smart, I go to the Bible for direction and answers. Sometimes I like what I read. Other times I’m stretched by what I read, knowing the answer does not line up with my natural inclinations.

For example, one of my favorite—and least favorite—verses is the same verse.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 ESV).

This one verse answers several questions, including the source for answers and the kind of help God provides for guidance.

At face value, this verse sounds like everything we would want, including light and leading. Of course, I’m grateful for the direction this verse promises God’s children.

But (true confession) there’s one particular thing I don’t like about this verse. If I’m being honest, I don’t want a lamp to my feet. A lamp only lights the way a few feet in front of me. It lights the path step by step.

I don’t want a lamp for the next few steps. I want a floodlight that lights the way for a mile down the road. I don’t want direction just for today. I want to know what the next year (or two or three) holds.

But God gives me what I need, not necessarily what I want.

What I need is to learn dependence on God. Sadly, it’s easier for me to trust Him for my eternal salvation in Christ—my eternal destiny—than it is to trust Him in the physical trials of life.

According to Psalm 119:105, God gives just enough direction to move forward with dependence on Him. And coincidentally, that’s what prompts trust, which just happens to be my “one word” for the year.

Conversations with friends have shown me I’m not alone in wanting to know what lies around the bend next month…next year…next decade. And actually, isn’t that the reason people flock to fortune tellers, read horoscopes, and visit palm readers?

We’re under the illusion that if we know what’s coming, somehow we can control it. As if a certain level of control will solve all our problems. But the biggest problem is that control is, itself, an illusion. We can’t control the weather, the culture, or how other people respond to us.

And to make matters worse, most of us aren’t even successful controlling ourselves!

Ever lost your temper? Said something you wish you could take back? Or maybe not said something you wish you had?

Control may be what we want, but dependence is what we need. Dependence on the One who created us and sustains us if we run to Him. Trusting that if God has given us all we need in Christ for our eternal relationship to be restored, surely He can be trusted for the here and now.

The Father has restored us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, and the Son has left us His Spirit, equipping us to grow in our intimacy with Him and to live a life pleasing to Him.

In short, He has already given us everything we need. So why does that not seem to be enough?

Perhaps it’s because, deep down, we’re afraid to trust. Afraid God doesn’t define good the way we do. Let’s face it, we define good as what we want: people and possessions. But God defines good as the people and processes He uses to make us more like Him.

Part of that process is cultivating trust. And trust is cultivated with just enough light for one step at a time.

Like I said…my favorite—and least favorite—verse!

What is your favorite or least favorite Bible verse? Why?


Are You Independent?

The fireworks have already begun in my neighborhood. But I suspect the revelers are more interested in making lots of noise than in celebrating the upcoming anniversary of our nation’s independence.

Independence Day   Independence. It’s in our country’s DNA. As American citizens, it’s also in our individual DNA. We don’t bow to anyone or anything. We’re proud of our nation and we’re proud of ourselves.

   Problem is, independence is the antithesis of the Christian life. We are created to be dependent on the Lord and on each other. Unfortunately, in our culture, dependent people are often viewed as weak and needy. We don’t mind offering help, but we dislike asking for it.

   Oops, let me re-phrase that: I don’t mind offering help, but I dislike asking for it. There, I admit it.

   But then I’m convicted by verses such as these:

  •  “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength’” (Isaiah 30:15 ESV).
  • “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 ESV).
  • “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:4-5 ESV).
  • “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25 NLT).
  • “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (I Peter 4:10 ESV).

We need the salvation God provides through Christ. We need the grace and power He provides through His Holy Spirit. And we need each other to be His hands and feet to encourage each other in difficult times and rejoice together in victorious times.

One more thing about dependence. It’s not just for individuals. It’s also for us as a nation:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).

What about you? Are you more comfortable giving or receiving help?