The Fight for Radiance
Day 4: Radiance requires a fight
What has happened to all of your joy? If you could have torn out your own eyes and given them to me, you would have. I can give witness to that. (Galations 4:15 NIRV)
Have you even been in a relationship with someone, where it became obvious– their attitude toward you had changed? The frequent phone calls stop. You are not invited to your friend’s event. You are not tagged in their post. They suddenly seem to be in a hurry when you meet, with no time to talk. Or, maybe, like me, you find yourself no longer talked to – but talked about. Somewhere along the way you are downgraded to a “she” or a “her” spot from the “trusted friend” position you once held. You can’t identify an event or conversation that caused the relationship to chill, but the coolness toward you is felt. When this happens, you and I are perplexed, scratching our heads in bewilderment.
This is precisely the sort of unexplained predicament with which Paul confronts the Galatians. What has happened to all of your joy? Or your blessedness (ESV)? Paul begins to remind these friends of their former affections toward him. By asking such a pointed question, Paul calls them to give attention to the relationship once more and fight to turn it around.
Because we can relate just as poorly with a heavenly Father as with an earthly friend, the same question can apply toward our relationships with God.
What has happened to all of your joy?
Where is your blessedness toward the One who loves you most? Has what’s been done for you slipped from your memory? Is He still worth rejoicing over or has your relationship with Christ been downgraded to a drujgery?
When the joy goes missing in my friendships, one key component I have discovered is that the person forgets who I really am. During the span of time when we are apart they fail to remember that I am a sincere, consistent friend who truly cares about them.
The fight for radiance in Christ—requires us to remember who Jesus really is. We do this (John 15:4-10) by remaining in Him.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
Jesus gives the picture of vital connectivity that is life-giving. Reading His Word, thinking about Him, consistently seeking to live your life to more closely reflect His…that’s how you fight back.
Jesus unmistakably understands our tendency to disconnect with Him, because John made sure to marry this essential with being filled with His joy just the next verse.
11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
The challenge today is this: Will you choose to remain in Him over everything else?