"Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
The poet Robert Frost found himself “invited” to enter the woods, which he describes as “lovely, dark, and deep.” But he cannot accept their invitation to leisure and pleasure, for he has “promises to keep.”
The forest, with its evergreen trees and stately oaks, can be inviting even in winter. Its mystery is intriguing. A song writer states that he wishes to know “What the tree tops say, Whispering secrets night and day.”
One can get lost in the woods. This is also true spiritually speaking. Our world is like a forest in which many trees grow – the trees of pride, of self-proclaimed perfection, of immorality made attractive, of false religious beliefs. This has always been true. Jesus told His contemporaries that He was the Light of the world, that He had come to lead people out of the darkness of sin into the light of full salvation in Him. To this end He proclaimed the opening of the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of repentance and faith. He accepted tax collectors, even former prostitutes, when they repented of their sins and believed in Him as their Savior. But many others, notably the Pharisees, persisted in following the path of self-righteousness. They became lost in the woods of unbelief. They could not see the forest for God’s abundant grace because of the trees -- the trees of their own would-be-virtues.
Today people also get lost in the woods of unbelief, doubt, and self-glorification which they find “lovely, dark, and deep.” The only way not to get lost is to follow Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John the Baptist pointed to Him as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Saint Peter, preaching in the home of the centurion Cornelius, declared, “All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts 10:43).
As we follow Jesus in this new year and remain loyal to His Word we will not get lost in the woods of a spiritually confused world.
PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, guide me and lead me closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)