By David R. Ferguson
The disciples could hardly believe their ears. Had Jesus forgotten how the Jews in Jerusalem recently tried to kill Him? Why in the world would He want to put His life in danger by going back to Judea? (See John 11:1-16) But Jesus had just announced His intention to go to Bethany in response to a message that His friend Lazarus was sick. This news alarmed the disciples since Bethany was a mere two miles from Jerusalem; they tried to change His mind. “Rabbi, not long ago the Jews wanted to stone You to death,” they reminded Him. “Do you really want to go back there?”
Jesus answered their questions with a metaphor that contrasted walking in the light versus walking in darkness. He explained that people who walk during the “day” don’t have to worry about stumbling because they have the knowledge of God’s will to guide them, but those who walk in the darkness of their own understanding and self-reliance are likely to fall. Jesus understood what His well-intentioned disciples did not: as long as He submitted to God’s plan for His life, no harm could come to Him until the appointed time of His crucifixion. Jesus had no need to fear His enemies.
God has given each one of us a purpose and specific work to accomplish for Him. As long as we’re doing our best to follow His plan for our life, we don’t need to worry about our safety. Nothing and no one on the Earth can successfully interfere with God’s purposes. But it’s dangerous to leave the light of God’s truth and walk down a path of disobedience. It’s foolish to let ourselves be guided by the world’s standards and advice or by our own understanding if those things contradict God’s word. That would be like traveling down a rocky road on a dark night with no source of light to guide us; we can expect to stumble and fall. Trust me, for I know of which I speak!
Any time we stray from God’s will, we make ourselves vulnerable to temptations, Satan’s traps, and spiritual deceptions, leading us to make unwise choices that can bring serious consequences. The only truly safe place to be is in the center of God’s will for our life. As long as we follow where He leads, we’ll be protected – even in situations that appear threatening or dangerous to human eyes. Letting our decisions and movements be shaped by obedience to God will set us free from fear concerning our welfare and safety. We may have to walk through some dark valleys on our life journey, but even in the shadow of death we have the security of knowing that we are never walking alone. The Light of the world, Jesus Christ, is always right there with us.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me.” (Psalms 23:4 [NKJV])
Ask yourself: Am I walking in the safety of God’s will for my life, or have I strayed from the path of His commands?
- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelandchurchofchrist/ or firstname.lastname@example.org