INL October 21, 2005  

SOUNDING OUT:
How To Be Radiant

  Well, we have seen how to be miserable: by looking within and relying on your own understanding.  (Of course Proverbs 3:5 tells us not to lean on our own understanding, but to rather acknowledge Him in all our ways.)  We have also seen how to be distracted by looking at others around us.  (Paul also tells us in II Corinthians 10:12 that when we measure ourselves by ourselves, and comparing ourselves among ourselves, we are not wise.)  Asaph got himself out of the funk he had gotten into by looking to God and setting his affections on things above.

  Now in Psalm 34 we will see David rejoicing in God's great deliverance.  He makes a statement of truth in Psalm 34:5 whose simplicity continues to elude people today.  When people look to God they are radiant.  When they look anywhere else, they will be disappointed.  Setting our affection on God and the things of God will make a difference in our lives.

  David declares this truth in Psalm 34.

Psalm 34:1-5:
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
 2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
 3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. [WHY?]
 4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.  [Then to show how this principle is applicable to all of God's people who will set their affection on things above he says...]
 5 They looked unto him, and were lightened [NIV & NAS have radiant]: and their faces were not ashamed.

  Two of my earliest teachers taught me secrets to victory in Psalm 34:5.  One called this verse, “The Secret to Radiant Living.”   While the other called it, “The Secret to a Holy Life.”  I'm teaching it today for the same reason they did - that it no longer remain a secret.

  The result of looking unto God is radiance.  It's a countenance that reflects the glory of God to a needy world.  God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  Any light that we have comes from Him.  This is the secret of peace and happiness and of real progress in Christian living.  No matter how much we look at ourselves...  No matter how much we look at others...  Those efforts only defeat and frustrate.  They never enable us to live the abundant life that Jesus Christ came to make available.

  So instead of looking to Him to be enlightened, we have followed Asaph's example and looked either at ourselves or at someone else.  Therefore we have manifested frustration and fear in our lives and have not tapped into the secret of living.

  David sought the Lord, Psalm 34:4 tells us.  For the most part people do not do that.  Instead, they seek what the Lord can do for them.  You will find people today doing the same thing.  They seek the blessing rather than seek the Blesser, the One who has blessed them.  They are in it for what they can get and go after it with “full speed ahead!”  Problems arise, however, when they get the things they sought, because they do not provide the satisfaction, meaning, or contentment that was anticipated.  Only a relationship with the Blesser can fulfill the longing in our hearts.  Then the things He gives mean so much more to us because we know the love with which He gave them.

Ephesians 1:3:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed [past tense] us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

  If this is true, then, are we blessed?  Then we need not seek the blessing; we need to seek Him Who is the Blesser.  We seek Him in love and gratitude for all He has done for us.  Only knowing Him as a loving heavenly Father will ever fill our soul' s most sincere desires.

  How do we look unto a God who is invisible?  We look at him in the scriptures and in the face of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:2a
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith...

  So the Christian believer has to quit looking at himself and look at Christ!  We have to look at what the scriptures teach us that we are in Christ Jesus.  That is the secret to living.  To quit looking at ourselves and to look at God Who shed abroad in our hearts His presence and power by the holy spirit.  We can also look unto Jesus for as he said in John 14:9, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.”

Hebrews 12:2a [New English Bible]
Our eyes fixed on Jesus on whom faith depends from start to finish...

  The Greek word for “looking” is aphoraō.  It is a compound word made up of apo, “away from” and horaō, to perceive with the eyes, used of bodily sight.  Bullinger translates it “to look away from one thing so as to see another.”  Bauer's lexicon says it means “to fix one's eyes trustingly on someone.”  A good translation of Hebrews 12:2 would be, “Looking away from all else unto Jesus...”

  We look to Jesus because he is the author, the archēgos.  He is the founder, the originator, the leader, the one who breaks the ground and sets the standard.  Thayer says archēgos means the one who takes the lead in anything and thus affords an example.  Jesus stands at the head to lead.  As dearly beloved children of God, let's play follow the leader with him.  He has blazed the path for us.  Let's walk in his steps.

  Not only is Jesus the author, he is the finisher, teleiōtēs.  He is the perfecter or consummator.  He is the one who alone brought faith's work to completion.  In him we find God's work of faith brought to completion.  Hebrews 12:3 continues, making the choice we have to make very clear.

Hebrews 12:3:
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

  Not only are we to look to Jesus, but we are also to “consider him.”  “For” is the Greek gar that we studied in Romans 12:3.  Thayer says it is a particle of affirmation and conclusion.  “Truly therefore” consider him.  It explains fully how we are to look to him by directing us to further action — to consider him, analogizomaiAnalogziomai is in the middle voice which means we are to think for ourselves, no one can do it for us.  It is one of eleven Greek words translated “consider.”  It is also a compound word, comprised of ana, which is used as a prefix to show repetition and intensity and to strengthen the action of the verb and logizomai meaning “to reckon or think it through,” or “to come to a correct and logical conclusion.”

  A literal translation according to usage of Hebrews 12:3 could be:  “Truly therefore consider for yourself in detail how Jesus Christ bore up under pressure and be strengthened as you think it through again and again realizing that he is in you...”  The choice presented to us in this verse is to consider him in detail or to faint in our minds.  We can look to him by considering in detail what he endured for us realizing that same strength is in us, or we can faint in our minds.  We can look to him and be radiant, or we can look to anything else and be overwhelmed.

Hebrews 3:1,2a:
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him...

By looking at his example of faithfulness we, too, can become faithful.  This is part of what God has made available to us in Christ Jesus.  Jesus Christ was faithful to Him Who appointed Him, and we can be, too.