Stop Stumbling Your Way Through Life

John 11;9-10, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles because the light is not in him.

Stumble. Yes. It means exactly what you think it means. Trip. Stagger. Spill. Fall. In the Greek (the language of the NT) it referred specifically to someone who had struck their foot against a stone or some other obstacle in the path. The idea is simple and straightforward. Jesus declares to His disciples that as long as they walk in the day (i.e. the light) they won’t stumble. In other words, you won’t trip and fall. The problem starts for us when we try to walk without the light. We need to remember the time in history when this passsage was written. Back then it got dark at night. There was no electricity. No street lights. No headlights from oncoming cars. No flashlights. Nothing. Bottom line? Walking at night was extremely difficult and dangerous.

Accordingly, it was important to do your walking in the day. Walk at a time when light was readily available. In fact, the more light you had available the better off you would be. Light made it possible to see the obstacles, the things that would otherwise make you stumble and fall. In the dark you couldn’t see that large rock that lay in the middle of your path. Walking at night involved a tremendous amount of risk. And as far as it relates to spiritual matters, walking in the dark involves a real lack of wisdom and understanding. You are just an accident waiting to happen.

Jesus’ decision to return to Judea made no sense to His disciples. From their vantage point He was taking an unnecessary risk. Possibly even death. The real problem was that the disciples were approaching the situation from the standpoint of natural wisdom. Jesus was moving forward based on spiritual understanding. Throughout the NT we are reminded that Jesus walked in intimacy with the Father. In fact, Jesus Himself declared, “I can do nothing on My own initiative.” Jesus also told us, “…I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” At all times in His earthly life Jesus walked in perfect submission to God’s will for His life. He did not make a move independent of God’s guidance or plan for His life. Jesus was about to walk into one of the darkest periods of His life. But He went forward in faith and in confidence because He had the light of God’s presence and promises guiding Him.

But how do we take that same principle and work it out in our own daily living? Jesus was sinless. I am prone to human frailty and failings. In our remaining moments together I want to focus on one critical component of walking in the light. It’s certainly not the only aspect of what Jesus meant when He spoke of walking in the day but it is a part that many of us tend to easily neglect. The Psalms states it this way, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Need a more modern analogy? Ok. Think flashlight. You have gone on a camping trip. You decide to go for a hike in the late afternoon. You lose track of the time and before you realize it night has fallen and you are still far from camp. What do you do? One of two things. Stumble your way back through the dark, hoping that you do not break your neck in the process. Or you pull out your flashlight and allow it to guide you safely back to your site.

Sadly, too many of us are trying to make the journey of life without the help of His Word. We are convinced that we can make it just fine without any light. The result? We constantly trip over temptation. We stumble into sin. We lose our sense of direction and get completely lost. Even worse, some people have gotten so far off track they have walked off the cliffs of personal destruction. All because we were too proud and stubborn to pull out God’s word. The light of God’s word is available to us all. It gives light. It gives life. But tragically, we would rather stumble around in the dark. Stop stumbling your way through life. God has a better way for each of us. Just like Jesus we can all move forward with faith and confidence even during the most difficult of times. Stop living without the Light of His presence and His promises. Make His Word a daily part of your life.