January 17

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:18-19)

Solomon gives us an analogy of the luminosity and brilliance of God’s light. Like the sun as it rises in the sky after dawn, the light of truth grows increasingly intense until it reaches its “full day.” Believers are sanctified to reflect God’s character. Our lives, values, priorities, and morals become more and more righteous, living for and with Christ. By contrast, those who reject God, actively opposing Him are considered wicked, walking a path of deep darkness.

You have experienced total blackness if you have ever visited an underground cavern. No matter how long you are there, it is impossible to see your hand in front of your face. It is an eerie experience. Without a light source, it is impossible to see the uneven ground, over which we would all fall. An electric or flame-generated light might seem adequate, but produces only a fraction of the light or warmth of the sun. Even a fire of wood or coal can’t compare to the brilliance of the sun. Stumbling is guaranteed when we leave the path of righteousness, but the reason for it is hidden to those on this path.

Given the choice, why would believers, who have the light of Christ, ever choose to walk in darkness? It would be like living in a house with all the curtains drawn and the lights off. We wander into the darkness because we are still grappling with our sin nature, and sin loves the darkness. The only way to eliminate sin is to dispel the darkness with light, to open the curtains. As the light of gospel shines on the hidden recesses of our hearts, the issues causing us to stumble come into view. Jesus instructs us on what to do next: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” (Matthew 5:29-30)

Trying to live a life saturated in the gospel with a besetting sin is a bit like living in hell, because if continually pulls us back into the darkness. What will you do about your sinful desires, habits, and temptations? Will you confess, repent, and get back on the path of righteousness with Christ?

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