A verse I learned as a child was Psalm 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." As a child, it was just a verse to memorize and receive a sticker for. It also got me closer to the promised reward if I learned all the memory verses. A candy bar or a trinket, it didn't matter. Rewards were coveted.
David says that God's instructions are more valuable than gold and sweeter than honey. There is great reward in keeping them (Psalm 19:11-12). As a child, they were just words; now I understand they are so much more. I don't need a candy bar reward to motivate me to read the Bible and listen to God. The reward comes from knowing God's heart. His words reveal His heart for me.
Many things in the Bible are perfectly clear...do not steal, do not take the Lord's name in vain, take care of orphans and widows, be generous, go to church (fellowship). The Bible does guide us in how to live. His instructions give us direction and security. These were the things I already knew and for the most part, thought I obeyed.
I graduated from Moody Bible Institute and figured I knew enough. I had no idea how to have a personal relationship with someone I couldn't see. I thought they were just words that Christians used. Everything I had learned to this point was all head knowledge. I didn't know what heart knowledge was. I wasn't convinced that people really read their Bible or prayed on a daily basis. Especially if they had grown up in the church and learned as much as I had. Still they needed to teach this so that people knew it in their head. But do it? As far as I knew, most people didn't.
It would be years before I understood. God would take me through some very dark times before I would come to know Him as a loving God, a God who's heart is for me and not against me. It would be a long time before I would see God's word as living and active, able to give light to my path. I didn't know that you could read the Bible and it would speak to a specific situation in your life or that you could get quiet and hear His voice speaking in your mind as a thought or impression. I didn't know He still would speak through dreams or even visions.
What a joy it is to now know this! I don't just read the Bible to gain more head knowledge though I have learned that I didn't know as much as I thought I did. I don't listen to God's voice just so I can get more facts. Growing up in the church or attending Bible college is a good thing, but no guarantee that you will encounter the living God. Just because you are saved and have received eternal life, doesn't automatically mean you understand how to have a personal relationship with the God of the universe. And reading or learning Bible verses doesn't always translate into letting it guide your life.
For me it meant I had to face some lies I had picked up along the way. I had to be willing to let God show me the lies that I was believing as truth. Sometimes it meant He would take me back to a memory of when the lie first began. I would feel the hurt and pain again and God would speak to me about the lie and why I had believed it. I would never knowingly want to believe a lie and when I was able to see it for what it was, I could reject it. Then God was able to replace it with truth. And it was the truth that set me free. God's word is truth and when I live by the truth, I am free! And that is how God's word is a lamp to my feet...revealing truth and direction! Not just for my head to know, but for my heart to understand and connect to One who gives the words of life and truth.