The Fight for Radiance
Day 6: Be Productive in The Fight for Radiance
My daughter, Addison, loves to swim competitively. For reasons we don’t understand, she delights in the smell of chlorine, practicing laps for hours, and doesn’t mind wearing a swimsuit in public. Her whole body wiggles in excitement the closer our car moves toward the swim center. When Addison swims, it rings her internal bells. Swimming brings her great delight. I wouldn’t say it “makes her joy complete,” but the example provides a picture of the concept.
In Deuteronomy this idea of joy being made complete is connected with feasting and productivity. God promised, if His people would walk in obedience, He would make the land incredibly fruitful and productive. Overflowing joy would be a natural response because of God’s physical blessing toward them.
John the Baptist uses the same words to describe himself in relation to Jesus (John 3:25-29).
An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
He makes a spiritual application of this overflowing joy we can’t afford to miss. John’s companions confront him about the increasing popularity of Jesus. Instead of becoming jealous, John expresses joy and delight in the matter.
How is this possible?
John recognized his place in God’s plan. John understood his calling, and he pursued it without distraction. The friend of the bridegroom in Jewish tradition went between the bridegroom to the bride, making him appealing to her; and getting the bride presentable for the groom. John, not only understood the plan, but embraced it.
John resisted temptation to reach for what was not his. John’s disciples wanted him to be The Groom—not the friend of the Groom. What a temptation! It came through friends. The power grab had ministry motives and appeared warranted! Unless…you were John and understood God as the giver of ministries, roles and opportunities.
John rejoiced in his productivity. John dedicated his life to being the friend of the bridegroom. Doing exactly what God designed him to do– rang his spiritual bell!
Can you see the pattern? Our joy–our radiance—increases as we live out God’s call on our lives. What joy brings people in the New Testament and today is exactly what it brought in the Old Testament in relationship to productivity.
What is God’s plan for you? Trust Him to perfectly fit you into His work. Find what rings your spiritual bell and begin doing it!
When I hear about it– That, my friend, will make my joy complete!