“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” – Proverbs 4:18
There’s not many times I can remember waking up to do something outside at dawn. It’s not something you look forward to. And yet…it is. The dawn of a new day is an hour springloaded with anticipation. It’s solemn, almost sacred in its innocence, full of hope and potential. It’s cold and dark, and you feel tired, but it’s different than the cold, dark, and tired of a late night. The difference is your assurance of what lies ahead. Light lies ahead. Everything around you will get brighter. You will see more clearly. Your energy and spirits will revive.
This is the Christian’s life. Your relationship with Jesus begins at the dawn; and through eternity you draw closer, but never arrive at the brightness of noon. Here is a place to find unparalleled confidence. What that makes those dawn hours so optimistically anticipatory is the confidence you can have. No matter how dim things may appear, or how challenging it may be to pick your way through the darkness, you know that more light is coming. It’s not a good probability or a safe bet, it’s a guarantee. The sun will rise and the day will get brighter.
This proverb is promised to the righteous. As a Christian, you are righteous because of Jesus. It’s Jesus living in you that makes you righteous, not how many good things you’re doing. That is your confidence. Jesus is going to make your life brighter and brighter. This means your life will appear more clear, and you will be able to discern things better. The beauty of your life with Jesus will also shine more brightly to those around you.
Surprisingly, we may need this confidence more the longer you’re a Christian. Because of our sin and weakness, there is a way in which the longer you do something, the easier it is to doubt yourself, because your progress is so slow. For example, it’s easier to get frustrated with yourself being a parent for ten years versus two years. You look back over the past decade of your life, and wonder: Have I learned a single thing? Am I even the slightest bit better at this now than when I started?
This is where the promises of this proverb help. In the valleys, in the darkness, in the steps backward, Jesus is working in your life to make it shine brighter and brighter. An omnipotent power is working in this brightening of your life, independent from whatever your faulty self-evaluation mechanisms may tell you. In other words, it doesn’t matter how bright or dim the circumstances around you appear, you are much closer to the dawn than you are to noon. Even if clouds and rain cover your life, and you can’t see the sun, it’s there, and it’s only rising higher, never lower. This is a hope that should draw us – not toward doing more, but toward trusting more, because it’s the light of His presence that shines brighter and brighter.