Words of Light and Life (Proverbs 6:22-23)
When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life —Proverbs 6:22-23
If God-fearing instruction were a coin with two sides, Deuteronomy 6 would be the parent side and Proverbs 6 would be the child side. You may have already noticed some similarities between Proverbs 6:20-23 and Deuteronomy 6:4-7.
Parents, be sure of this: our kids will quote us.
When they quote us, what will they say? They’ll probably repeat some of the quirky and clever sayings we daily use. That’s a normal part of life. Our interactions with our kids include God-given personality. Otherwise we would sound way too much like Charlie Brown’s teacher. But our kids can’t live by repeating our personality. They need God’s words of light and life. So, parents, let’s get the words of God imbedded deep in our innermost being and then impress them upon our children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
Young men, be sure of this: God’s words flowing through your parents’ teaching is worth quoting.
Christian music artist, Rich Mullins, once said that when Jesus was tempted he started “quotin’ Deuteronomy to the Devil.” God’s word is a faithful companion in temptation, when the immoral woman tries to “capture you with her eyelashes” (Proverbs 6:25). In that moment, the godly instruction passed on from your parents will lead you, watch over you, and talk with you. Those words shine like a billion stadium lights on the path of life (Proverbs 6:23; Psalm 119:105). They show us things for what they really are. We hear the “smooth tongue of the adulteress” as really spewing forth thorny words of death (Proverbs 6:24). And we see her beauty as a mannequin’s shell. Even so, the temptation can be intense. And we are not Jesus.
Jesus is our only hope.
Unlike all other men, Jesus never sinned in his temptations (Hebrews 4: 15). He overcame every temptation as he lived by the word of God in the power of the Spirit (see Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). He walked the path of obedience all the way to the cross (Philippians 2:8). His resurrection life is our only hope for teaching and living by godly wisdom, and his sacrificial death brings the forgiveness we need when we don’t measure up. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). Jesus is the ultimate word of light and life.
As a parent, when do you tend to rely more on your own sayings than what God says in his word for instructing your children?
As a young person, how are you seeking to live by the godly instruction you have received? Where are the dark areas of temptation that need the “stadium lights” of wise words?
In what ways do you need the “light of men” to help you? Ask him now.