Week 35: The Lamp of the Lord

Today’s Text: Proverbs 20-21

Key Text: Proverbs 20:27

    The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

We live in a time in which, at least in some circles, introspection is the name of the game.

People meditate; journal; go to counselors; consult with coaches; read self-help books; attend seminars on “the inner self” and so on.

Some of that introspection is good. Some, in my opinion, isn’t worth the fee paid to the self-appointed guru dishing out this or that idea about the “self”.

Years ago, this Proverb had something to say about the “inner” self.

In some translations we read that the human spirit is the lamp of the LORD “that sheds light on one’s inmost being.”

Other translations put it a little differently, saying that the human spirit is the lamp of the LORD, “searching every inmost part.”

Either way an important claim is made.

It is that introspection and searching is – or should be – intimately connected with God and the matters of the spirit.

Other introspection – that looks inward to one’s inner thoughts and feelings alone – but not to God – misses something important.

I won’t delve into the deep question of how one is to best go about connecting an introspective search and God – theologians and philosophers have been arguing over that one for a very long time.

Suffice it to say that I personally believe the study of the scriptures are a key part of that process.

It’s more than just musing about this dream; that concept; this life event; that experience.

It’s finding the link between one’s individual experience, the experiences of humanity at large, and the creator and sustainer of humanity, God.

There will always be those who are eager to tell you what the inner life is all about.

I think we can, and should, walk that path carefully and prayerfully, ideally with some trusted advisors, and most of all – with our own reading of scripture – to help find our way.

Along the way, if we ask, the best and most trustworthy guide of all, the Holy Spirit, will illumine the path.

What a wonderful and fruitful journey that is.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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