Galatians 4:15: “What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.”
I was reading in Galatians 4 when verse 15 jumped out and grabbed me. Paul asks “what has happened to all your joy?” Let’s be frank, how many joyous Christians do you meet? Yet, Paul asks the question implying we must be joyous.
Paul is writing the Galatians in a “pretty stiff” tone. Galatians 4: 20: “How I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!” Why the need for such a ‘harsh’ letter as it was? The reason wass the Galatians were turning back to old Jewish customs and legalism. Paul called them “weak and miserable principles.” The Galatians had given up freedom in Christ for old legalism and ritual. They were spiritual slaves; forgetting what they once knew and forgetting who they once were.
Paul asks them what has happened to all their joy. In Galatians 4:15 he goes on to say to them (in my paraphrase) “There was a time you would have ripped out your eyeballs for me and the truth; now you are upset because I have come to you in this letter to confront you of your spiritual bondage. Why are you bucky with me when I bring you the truth?”
Where is their joy? They are joyless because they have become legalists. The Christian faith for them has become a list of do’s and don’ts. Their life is a routine; it is weak and miserable. Their joy is gone because they live passionless, selfish lives. Paul says there was a day when you were zealous. You were willing to live a sacrificial life (the willing to rip out your eyeballs thing). (“It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.” Galatians 4:18).
If you want joy, trade in your legalistic, ritualistic life for one of passion and zeal; living sacrificially for God and others!
The key to joy is this—do you live life for something bigger than yourself? Are you willing to lay down your agenda for the cause of Christ and others?
Do you want joy? What does the Lord require of you? “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.
Let’s go out and live this life with sacrifice and passion. Let’s be zealous for good and let’s walk humbly with our God. Let’s live to His glory, not ours.