What does this scripture mean? What does it mean to walk in the light of the Lord? The word light represents truth and knowledge. When we walk in the light of the Lord, we are living our lives according to knowledge and truth. The more we learn, layer upon layer, the more light or truth we gain and the more we are able to gain because our spiritual capacity to learn greater things has increased.
Physical light illuminates our surroundings so that we don’t stumble on that which is in front of us. Or makes us see things more clearly than we would with less light. The gospel is the same. If I have only a small degree of spiritual light in my life, I can still know certain truths, or carrying with the analogy of physical light, I can make out what is in the room. But the details become more clear the more light I add to the room. I guess I’m on a roll with analogies today, so here is one of my favorites. I work out 3-5 times a week. If I miss out on a workout I feel it and miss it. But only at first. The longer I spend away from my workout, the harder it is to get back into it. Partly because I know it will be painful to get back in the habit, but also because we humans forget things so easily. I begin to forget the joy of the process. I forget the positive consequences of a workout. I even start to tell my self lies that I don’t even realize are lies because I am so far removed from that positive habit. I think, “I don’t really need to workout, it didn’t really help me get in shape anyway.” Or, “Man, I have so much more time on my hands, I can’t believe I ever wasted so much time working out.” Even writing these lies down, I can totally see myself believing them. There is a truth in, well, honestly, both of them. I haven’t lost the weight I’ve wanted to lose solely by working out, but man I’m in great shape. I can lift and feel more energy and have great strength. Even my pain from a labor injury has gone away because of working out. But now that it’s feeling better, it’s easy to forget that working out is what brought me here. I WOULD also have more time, but the time I invest in working out not only helps me stay in shape and keeps me healthy, but it keeps my mind and emotions healthy as well. Working out brings me a lot of satisfaction and joy. So let’s bring this analogy back to the gospel.
I do a daily spiritual exercise, and honestly some days I run out of time or forget to do some or one of these, but my daily efforts to do them help me get back on the bike and keep peddling. Here’s what I do. When I first wake up, instead of instantly scrolling my phone, I try to remember to say a quick prayer to ask for help with my day and to pray for those I care for. And THEN I check my phone. (seriously.. bad habit, but it is what it is). Then I get my kids off for the day and once they’re ready to go I get some scripture study done. I love doing this in front of my kids before they go to school, because they see how important it is to me and get that as a good example for their own daily spiritual efforts. We try to remember to pray with our kids before they hop on the bus and they usually fight over who gets to say it (ironic, I know). If my morning is particularly crazy (we all have them) then I do my scripture study for ten minutes after my workout while someone is still watching my crazy 2-year-old, that way I know I can get some uninterrupted connection with my Savior. Not every day is perfect. And I don’t get a spiritual epiphany every time I read my scriptures, but that daily exercise helps keep my spiritual muscles fit. Every evening we have family scriptures and prayer. I use Come Follow Me from The Church of Jesus Christ. They already have a section for families towards the bottom of the page for that week. I break it up into seven days. Some days we spend more time and some days it’s a verse, but we rarely miss. We have family prayer right after, even when Andy is working. I FaceTime him so the kids can pray with him and say goodnight. Again, sometimes he’s saving lives so he can’t answer, but if he’s available, we get to have that moment as a family every night. It kept us unified as a family when he was working six out of seven days every week, but it keeps us anchored even now that he is home more. When he was working, our time with him was so precious that it was always family time when Andy was home, but now that he’s home more, it actually takes MORE of an effort to make sure we have quality family time, because we often just do our own things and go about our lives without that devoted moment with each other. These daily spiritual workouts aren’t always perfect, and sometimes I have more devoted time and sometimes I have to do better the next day, but my spiritual muscles need this workout to keep the Light of the Lord burning bright in my life, especially in this world where the clever lies of satan are so easily believable when encased in some measure of truth. Sometimes we’ve gone years without a physical workout and it seems impossible to get back into it. I would take the method “couch to 5K” in consideration, even in the spiritual sense. Don’t try to dive into the thick of the scriptures or cross references, unless you feel yourself suddenly hungering for it, instead look for the things that seem fun and appetizing. Read favorite scriptures, sing favorite hymns. Go to fun church activities and make Come follow me fun for your kids. As you rework these spiritual muscles, you will gain a desire for more because you will see the good it will bring within yourself and those around you. For when you are full of light, it is hard not to illuminate the lives of those around you. I hope that the light of Christ can burn bright in your life too!