Today’s AMI Devotional is provided by Esther Shin. Esther, a graduate of Northwestern University, is currently serving at Tapestry Church in Los Angeles while studying at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Only You, Lord”
2 Corinthians 4:1-6
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Many of us reading these devotionals either are serving or have served in different contexts within the church. As it is now close to hitting the two-year mark for my time on staff at Tapestry, I’ve been reflecting heavily on my own heart of service for the church. Oftentimes, I’ve realized that when I don’t heed the biblical charges on how to approach ministry, I am not beautifying the bride but rather disheartening the disciple.
In this passage, we can learn about what it means to serve and minister well. First, Apostle Paul exhorts the believers to understand their privilege in being able to participate in the ministry of reconciliation. Paul knew far too well, given his back story, that God IN HIS MERCY chose to use Paul for the glory of Christ. Thus, he was reminding the Corinthians that in the same way, it was the plain mercy of God that allowed them to also partake. I know my heart is postured correctly when it is filled with joy because I realize the sobering truth that I am not required to serve but I get to serve. It humbles me to know that God mercifully chooses someone like me to be a part of His glorious ministry.
Second, because we understand the privilege of being able to participate in God’s ministry, we know to whom we are to be held accountable. We ought to be genuine and conscientious, PRIMARILY before God and only then SECONDARILY to man. Oftentimes I am inclined to serve out of the fear of man. But serving God should begin with understanding that we are called to be faithful to Him and to the gospel truth. We find immense freedom and no need to perform when we are honest before the Lord. We need to ask the Lord to continue to search us, to make known our intentions so that there be no false way in us. Only then can others around us see who Christ is through us.
Finally, Paul reminds us that we are called to be bearers of light because we’ve been changed and transformed by the light Christ has shone upon us. Even in our churches, we see so often how the “god of the world” tries so hard to deceive and discourage as we see people falling to depression and wrestling with their identity. But once we’ve received the light, we have the power to drive out all darkness as we minister. We don’t need to question the power of Christ in us through which we can walk with others out of their own darkness and into the light.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for allowing us to partake in Your ministry and serve your bride. We recognize that we serve because you’ve brought us out of darkness into the light and we want to see others experience the same love. Lord, in our service, help us to be humble, help us to be genuine before You, and help us to be remain steadfast as we fix our eyes on You.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 10
Lunch Break Study
Read Revelation 19:6-8: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
Questions to Consider
- How does the Bride prepare herself for her marriage to the Lamb?
- Do your deeds help to beautify the bride? Do you understand that you are the saint?
- What are tangible ways you would like to help clothe the Bride in fine linen?
- She actively seeks to be readied and made beautiful for the wedding day. It isn’t a passive thing but one that requires intentionality. We, as the church, must always be active and alert as to bring heaven down to earth in order to make way for the second coming of the Lamb of God — King Jesus.
- As a follower of Christ and as a saint, our deeds truly matter in beautifying the bride. We seek to serve in a way that allows for the bride to be made more and more beautiful and for others to be able to come and be part of the wedding day.
- There are so many things we are called to do that are considered righteous before the Lord. Giving to the poor, loving on the widow and the orphan, caring for the sick can all be tangible ways to make the Bride beautiful. Encouraging your brother or sister to walk in holiness, extending hospitality to others, praying for those who are discouraged are also tangible ways to serve.
In light of the devotional thoughts on service, where do you feel like you stand in regard to service? Are you healthy in having the right posture in service? Do you feel privileged and humbled by God entrusting his ministry into your hands? Are you serving as a saint of God?