Day 5: Guard your life against Joy-Stealers in the Fight for Radiance
You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) you heeding and following the Truth? (Galatians 5:7, AMP)
Among my eight children, there is usually an “Instigator.” You know the type. It’s the one responsible for today’s episode of mischief and mayhem. Sometimes it involves scheming to convince me they need to go somewhere. Or they will rally at least part of the crew to join him or her in some adventure (such as snake-hunting, lizard-catching, or sadly, the classic need to discover what is inside a baby bird’s nest by knocking it down from the tree). Most of the time, the sole desire of the Strange Instigator is to distract the sibling troops long enough to simply serve their own selfish purposes.
The same mischief and mayhem is happening in your life when it comes to joy and your path to becoming more radiant in Christ. We might call them Joy-Stealers—those subtle and not-so-subtle destructive factors you and I must guard against.
19 Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless. (Mark 4:19 AMP)
We read in Mark 4:19, a parable Jesus gives to help communicate the reality of what happens when good seed (the Word) is planted in good soil (a believing heart) and begins to grow up in the midst of thorns (mischief and mayhem). Good seed, good soil where the seed can take root in the ground, is choked out because of the thorns stealing the nourishment and landscape meant for the crop.
These thorns described by Jesus reach across all boundaries and serve as our Joy-Stealers.
Cares and the anxieties of this world related to the poor and hard-working class, focused on making a life for themselves and their families. These are not evil pursuits. In fact, there is virtue in pursuing them unless they encroach upon too much time and energy suggested here.
Pleasures and the deceitfulness of riches addressed the rich, not simply because they were wealthy, but in how they experienced and treated their plenty. Remember, these are believers! But instead of using their riches for furthering the Kingdom, they are squandering their lives with indulgence.
Cravings and passionate desire for other things covered everyone else dissatisfied—longing for more of the world, rather than looking toward Christ.
Truly, all of these represent distraction! How many times per day do we find ourselves irritated? Are you lost in replays of old conversations? Caught up in dramas and disagreements? Even if the plant can survive in this consuming environment, it does not yield anything more than a joyless existence!
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
How do we guard against Joy-Stealers in the fight for radiance?
- We must recognize what it is occupying our thoughts, sucking the life out of us– and stop supplying it with brain time.
- Beg God to show us what really matters: with our time, our money, our pursuits.
- Ask Him to make His desires our desires.
- Start sleeping with your gloves on. The fight FOR radiance AGAINST Joy-Stealers is relentless!