A Longing for Brilliance
Inside every one of us, there is a longing for brilliance. A desire to shine brightly with a sense of value that is beyond ourselves.
As children, we do not dream about becoming average or ordinary. Instead, we dream about the amazing things we will do with our lives. With passion in our hearts, we imagine all of the ways our lives will be filled with the extraordinary. Our minds envision exciting, hope-filled pictures of the life of purpose that lies in front of us.
However, over time, the bright, shining lights of our imaginations can slowly start to fade. We can begin to believe that a nominal life is all we can experience. A million responsibilities and the routine tasks of life can dim the fire that once burned so brightly.
This can be especially true in our walk with God.
We can convince ourselves that a radiant life filled with the brilliance of God’s purpose is out of our reach.
Several years after recommitting my life to Jesus Christ, I experienced this very thing. At first I was on fire and filled with the joy of the Spirit. I couldn’t get enough of Bible study or sharing about how God had changed my life. In the depths of my soul, I felt alive and treasured by God.
However, as time passed, this started to change.
A Different Reality
Slowly, I felt the fire in my heart fading away, and I wondered if God would ever use me again. In my mind, I had imagined all the ways my life could be used for God’s glory. But when those things didn’t happen, I felt disappointed and disillusioned.
I had prayed diligently for certain things in my life to change, but I didn’t see any tangible results.
I hoped and pleaded for my life to head in a certain direction, but instead it went the opposite way.
What was happening? Had God forgotten about me?
Frustrated and confused, I began stumbling around without purpose, losing patience and hope.
Consequently, I began to distance myself from God. I didn’t want to get hurt by the unmet expectations I was experiencing. Somehow, I felt like God was rejecting me when things didn’t go my way.
Shutting My Ears to God’s Voice
So stubbornly I stopped listening to the voice inside of me that told me I was made for more. I started to doubt that God had a special plan for my life.
It was this type of destructive mindset led me down the path of living a nominal Christian life. I gave up on my big dreams and instead decided to settle into average.
At church, I didn’t get too involved.
When I read the word of God, I didn’t let its truths embed deeply in my heart.
Instead, I let them settle on the surface. This way I wouldn’t get hurt.
As a result, I traded my dream of living an unstoppable, radiant life for Christ for a more realistic, practical one.
I tried to convince myself that I would be happy with that. I told myself I would be content with a normal, stable, predictable life. I could map out my life in simple, easy steps, and everything would go just fine. Playing it safe, I would stay in the range of average and ordinary…and that would make me happy.
But I didn’t.
A Life of Purpose
Instead of feeling happy, I felt quite unsettled.
Although I tried to be content with something less, I could sense God telling me that I was meant for so much more. With a persistent nudging, he kept urging me to stop living a life that didn’t function on his full power.
In my heart, I sensed God saying, “Get up off your chair, my child, and step up into real living.”
It was like a light went on in my mind.
I realized I had been sitting in the darkness, not embracing the radiant life God had called me to. Selfishly, I had wanted things on my own terms, but God was showing me that he is the one who sets the terms. And he has all of the amazing plans anyway. I do not.
Finally, I began to grasp the concept that I wouldn’t always understand God’s plans. And that was ok.
His plans might not always be logical, but I sensed that my faith would soar as I stepped out with him into the unknown. My life could become the adventure that God wanted me to live. He could make it happen. And it would be for his glory alone.
God would not grant me a life free of suffering. But he would fill me with his comforting, peace-filled presence if I would simply obey.
Setting Aside Reason
As K.P Yohannan states in Touching Godliness, “Our commitment must be to put aside reason as our guide. Instead our hearts must humbly seek to learn on bended knees.”
I realized that I had not done that. Instead of submitting fully to God’s plan for my life, I had been using my own logic to determine what I could (or could not) do for the Lord. That is not what God wanted.
He wanted more.
He wanted my whole life, and he wanted me to be pliable in his hands. He was the potter, and I was the clay.
Can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand (Jeremiah 18:6)
I started realizing what a privilege it would be to let God take my whole life and shape it into what he purposed it to be. I realized that there would be no safer or more joyful place to be than inside the well-designed parameters of his plan for me.
So I started to let go of my own ideas of who I should be. And above all else, I began to desire that God would make me pliable in his hands.
A Radiant LifeIf we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face. --A.W. Tozer Click To Tweet
Finally, I could see that “a life radiant with the light of His face” was within my reach. It is within reach of any of us who will fully submit to the God who created us.
Galatians 2:20 says, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
My life was no longer my own; it was Christ’s. And if I wanted to be radiant with the light of God’s face, I needed Christ to shine through. I needed his will to take over mine. Only then could I see things through his eyes and obey completely, even when I didn’t understand.
Christ lived the perfect example by submitting completely to his Father. He obeyed him out of love, even when he must have been tempted to do otherwise.
I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. John 14:31
If we as Christians can wrap our minds around such radical obedience, we will impact the world.
If we ask God to make Christ’s devotion our own, then we will start living the life of purpose God intended us to.
Of course, we will never be perfect like Jesus. But each day we can become more and more victorious in our submission to him. And the more we do, the more we will fulfill our God-given purpose on this earth.
Our faces will shine God’s light into this dark world.
And once we experience this, there will be no returning to a nominal life.
It’s time to arise and shine.
It’s time to live the life of obedience God has called us to.
Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60:1-2