Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Lighted Path of Righteousness

Light is planted like seed for the righteous person
                                                                                Psalm 97:11a

It is enlightening (bad pun) to think about light as seed. It’s easier to think of seed needing light to grow. Imagine the ground looking like the sky on a dark but clear night, light beaming out all around your feet. It is like a scene from a Disney movie, a path so illuminated that it is nearly impossible to stray from the right path.

Ah, you say, if only the path were so clear! But is it really that hard to see the right path, the path that God has for you? I believe that righteousness, while a gift from God, grows within us as we practice living rightly day in and day out. It’s not about “being good” but about such an overwhelming love for God that you want what God wants. This deep love compels you to faithfully walk in the way of Christ, and as you do, it becomes easier to see and follow the path.

Like exercise, the regular practice of walking in the way of Christ strengthens our faith muscles, and what was once unnatural for us simply becomes who we are. Several years ago my New Year’s resolution was to eat more fruits and vegetables. It was quite hard at first to change my eating patterns. I had to crowd out the other foods to make room for more fruits and vegetables. But consistent practice has changed the foods I crave. It is the same with living righteously. It begins with falling in love with God and grows to be who I am, instead of something I have to consciously do.

That doesn’t mean I never fail. Righteousness does not equate to perfection. Righteousness is a way of living in obedience to Jesus, an obedience that bubbles out of you because the center of who you are is overflowing love for God. We daily learn to follow more closely and we discover that our failures are caught in the net of grace! We can acknowledge our failures, repent of them, but not be defined by them or held hostage by them. They don’t rob us of our joy. They don’t turn our vision from the light on our path.

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