February 28, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from February 27-March 5 are provided by Pastor Yohan Lee who serves at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco.  

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

The Team

1 Corinthians 5:4-7

When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

28I’d say football is probably the ultimate team sport; and if you are an avid football fan like me, you might have noticed that Terrell Owens (T.O.), for the second year in a row, did not get voted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  On paper, this is an outrage; T.O. ranks 2nd and 3rd in all-time yardage and touchdowns, respectively, by a receiver in football history.  One could make an intelligent argument that T.O. is one of the five greatest receivers in football history.  In the end, I have no doubt that he’ll eventually get into the Hall of Fame, but for now, voters are making a statement: you can’t act like a selfish, ornery child for most of your career and expect to be immediately granted football’s highest honor.

You see, for all of his talent and on-field accomplishments, T.O. was notorious for having problems in the locker room.  He routinely demanded that his quarterbacks throw him the ball more often; he fought with coaches regarding game plans and other players about who knows what.  There are even reports of him getting into physical altercations with team personnel.  During his career, T.O. played for five different teams, because after a season or two, teams consistently didn’t think the on-field production outweighed the off-field drama.  The “me first” attitude became too damaging to the team.

People are often shocked to hear that churches will discipline members, remove people out of leadership, or in very rare instances, excommunicate them.  It feels ungracious.  But if you read today’s passage you gain an understanding of why discipline is required.  First, we hope that drastic measures will wake the person up so that they will eventually repent and come back and have their “souls saved” (v. 6).  Second, and more to today’s point, is that sinfulness, like yeast in dough, has a way of spreading and spoiling the entire church.  While it is important to be gracious (since we’re all sinners), no one individual is more important than the team.  So, are you aspiring to be a prima donna, or a team player?

Prayer: Jesus, please remind me that the church as a whole is your beautiful spotless bride and You died for her.  Please help me to play my part in the church well and faithfully, never putting my agenda ahead of Yours.  Help me to love being on Your team. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 10


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Matthew 18:15-20: If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[f] in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

Questions to Consider

This passage is obviously foundational to church disciple, but let’s glean more general lessons about church from it.

  1. What authority has Christ given to the church? How do you interpret v. 18?
  2. Based on vv. 19-20, what promises did Jesus give to the church?
  3. How does this information impact your view on the church?

Notes

  1. In this passage, the church was given power to declare who was genuinely part of it. And these decisions were not arbitrary or insignificant; they are bound in heaven.  This is why when the entire church (more than one congregation) agrees to a set of doctrines or condemns one teaching as heretical, it is a serious matter.
  2. First, Jesus says that God promises to listen to the church’s prayer, and He promises His presence when they gather together.
  3. Personal application question.

EVENING REFLECTION

Today we talked about the importance of the church.  When it comes to your faith, would you say that you are individualistic?  Do you believe in the power and importance of community?  Will you let the church speak into your life, or do you always have to push your agenda?  Simply put, are you a team player?

February 27, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from February 27-March 5 are provided by Pastor Yohan Lee who serves at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco.  

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Watch that Edge!

1 Corinthians 5:1-2

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

27Like many women who are approaching middle-age, my wife loves the movie Dirty Dancing (I don’t know if my wife will be too happy that I classified her as “approaching middle-age,” but I’m rolling with it). In fact, around my birthday she suggested that we go watch the 30th anniversary of the film as it was released in select theaters for one weekend only! Obviously, I was not too thrilled at the prospects of being trapped in a movie theater filled with middle-aged women watching Dirty Dancing on my birthday. Anyway, if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s got a pretty classic plot: idealistic, innocent, nice girl, nicknamed Baby (Jennifer Grey) falls for bad boy dance instructor Johnny (Patrick Swayze). Yes, I did just write “bad boy dance instructor”!

I know the plot sounds hokey, but the reason the movie works is because the late great Patrick Swayze played the role of Johnny to a tee. He always wore black, rode a motorcycle, got into fights, disrespected the boss, and could lift Baby over his head and hold her there for what seemed like an eternity in the final dance scene. In a word, Johnny was edgy (and I don’t mean pretend edgy, like hipsters; I mean real edgy), and human beings have this strange fascination with edgy people. Girls loved Johnny because he was edgy and could dance; guys wanted to be like Johnny because he would not conform to the parent’s ideas of society norms, and no one could tell him what to do.

Here’s my point as it relates to today’s passage: I have noticed that many Christians in our generation want to be edgy as well. When it comes to how we live our Christian lives, we don’t want to conform to past generation’s ideas of propriety or godliness, nor do we like to be told what to do. Now the problem with edginess is that when it’s not grounded in a careful understanding of the Bible and a prayerful walk with God, it can quickly become an avenue to abuse grace and indulge our sinful natures. Let’s face it: edginess by definition tows the line between safe and falling off the “edge” of a cliff.

When I look at the incident described in our passage, most people would wonder, How on earth could the Corinthian church allow one of its members to go so far over the edge that he sleeps with his own stepmom, while the rest of them brag (or are arrogant) about it? This is an egregious act. However, before we dismiss the Corinthians as brain dead, let me share with you what I think happened. At first, a few intelligent and edgy followers realized that not all of the Mosaic Law applied to believers (see Rom 14); then the next batch, who were ungrounded, unspiritual, and carnal, starting thinking, Well, maybe these laws about sexual purity don’t apply to believers either. Next thing you know, one of these people takes sin to the next level thinking, I can sleep with my stepmom, and you shouldn’t judge me. In fact, you should celebrate the liberty I have found in Christ! Now if my theory sounds far-fetched to you, let me ask you: Where do you see the trend when it comes to thinking among young Christians in regard to sexuality, cohabitation, drug use, alcohol consumption, etc.? Are we biblically edgy or are we in a real danger of falling off the cliff? Where are you? This morning, let’s examine our lives. What is your motivation for wanting to be edgy? Is it truly to honor Christ or is it to indulge your flesh? What does it mean to follow Christ and to live lives that are set apart for Him?

Prayer

Lord, help me to enjoy a life that honors You. Let me enjoy liberty in Christ. Let me always be Your witness and follower. Guard me from legalism and licentiousness. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 9


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Romans 12:1-2: I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Questions to Consider:

  1. How did Paul describe worship in this passage?
  2. How is transformation achieved in this passage?
  3. Why was it important to have a renewed mind? What does that mean for you today?

Notes:

  1. The obvious answer is that our bodies (or lives) are to be given to the Lord. However, the key words are “holy” and “acceptable.” In the OT it was never acceptable to sacrifice just any lamb or goat; God wanted you to set one apart (as holy) and it had to be of high quality. Similarly, our lives should be set apart and of high quality.
  2. We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. In other words, we need to think like God does and to love the things He loves.
  3. Only with a godly mind are we able to discern what is good, acceptable, and perfect. Today, too many people rely on their own morals/brains to determine good, and as we have seen repeatedly, they repeatedly fail.

EVENING REFLECTION

Today we talked about how quickly one can fall off the edge and the importance of having a renewed mind. Are there things in your life that you need to cut out? Maybe they aren’t overtly sinful, but if you are honest, do they indulge your sinful nature? And are you cultivating a mind that thinks like God and filters out the world’s perspective?

February 26, Sunday

Today’s AMI Devotional is written by Jane Oak, who serves at Tapestry Church, Los Angeles.  Jane, an immigration lawyer, and her husband Harry were married in 2015.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Marriage is Good!

Genesis 2:18, 1:28

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.” And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

26After my parents’ divorce when I was 9 years old, I quickly had to grow up and take on adult responsibilities, such as caring for my little brother, comforting my depressed mother, and figuring out ways to reduce the utility bills. With many years of carrying these burdens, I really enjoyed the freedom I experienced after graduating high school and leaving home. I would play and stay out late, but I also became very involved in church and ministry, investing a lot of time into my younger sisters. I enjoyed this lifestyle so much that the idea of marriage and having a man to take care of was not appealing to me. I wanted to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, with whomever I wanted. For the next 20 years, I went into and out of many relationships. And, in my explanation to others as to why I broke up with my boyfriend/fiancé, I used the noble excuse of, “Oh, I wanted to have more impact for the Kingdom of God. I need my freedom to give more time to the church and to my sisters. Marriage will reduce my impact because I would have to worry about my husband and domestic responsibilities.”

Everyone who heard this would agree with me, except for this one deaconess.  Her response to me was, “If it’s all about greater impact for the Kingdom of God, you are limiting yourself by staying single. Right now, you can mainly impact women. But, if you get married, through your influence on your husband, you can impact many men. And, if you have children, you will impact many children. Also, it is through marriage that your character will become more like Christ. You really need to think again about your excuse for not getting married.” I was cut to the heart.

I decided to read the Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, which completely changed my perspective on marriage. And, by God’s grace and orchestration, I met Harry Yoon three years ago. I knew he had not been in the church for 20 years, but I could clearly see that he was falling in love with God and the community (if you haven’t already, you need to read Harry’s testimony on the Tapestry website).  Now, we have co-led three cell groups and I hear numerous stories of how the men are growing and maturing because of Harry’s wisdom, humility, honesty, and leadership. We decided not to have biological children, but together, we care for many spiritual children at Tapestry. It is such a joy to constantly talk about our spiritual children, to pray for them, and to serve them as a couple. Indeed, my view on marriage has changed. Marriage with God at the center results in an even greater impact for the Kingdom. Therefore, marriage is good!

Prayer: Lord, I praise and glorify You this morning.  I pray that our marriages are being reoriented and shaped in accordance to Your original blue print for the institution of marriage.  Whether married or single, may we yield greater fruits for your Kingdom through serving You faithfully.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 8

February 25, Saturday

janeToday’s AMI Devotional is written by Jane Oak, who serves at Tapestry Church, Los Angeles.  Jane, an immigration lawyer, and her husband Harry were married in 2015.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Faith & Work: Abundant Life – In Reality (Abundance vs. Scarcity)

John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

We have all been victims of the enemy stealing from us, killing us, and destroying us. When we finally hear the gospel, we meet a God who doesn’t want to take from us but rather wants to give to us. For most of us, though, that’s where the gospel of God’s generosity stops. We’re glad that our God isn’t out to steal from, kill, or destroy us, and we hope He sticks to that hands-off approach, like the mob boss you pay protection money to and hope he doesn’t change his mind about looting your convenience store.

However, Jesus said, “I came that [my people] may have life and have it ABUNDANTLY.” When we settle for simply escaping the wrath of God, we completely miss out on the goodness of the gospel, which is expressed in part through the lavish generosity of God. Jesus came so that we could experience abundance! The gospel is not about settling for a middle-class spiritual life. It’s about overflowing, decadent, stuffed-to-the-gills, holy hedonistic ABUNDANCE.

Yet, since I resumed attending church, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon: many of us seem to act like we’re poor. We often operate out of scarcity, not abundance. I’ve noticed this especially in the areas of money, time, esteem, and love. Faith-based living in God’s abundance has dramatically differentiated my professional approach from most attorneys.

Operating from monetary/material scarcity: greed, cutting corners, and self-protective deception.

Operating from monetary/material ABUNDANCE: generosity rather than greed, excellence rather than cutting corners, and integrity rather than self-protection.

Operating from temporal scarcity: reducing clients to numbers, cutting people off, making assumptions about people.

Operating from temporal ABUNDANCE: desiring to hear people’s stories/hearts, seeing people as individuals bearing the image of God, which allows me to give the best, holistic legal counsel.

Operating from a scarcity of esteem/value/acknowledgement: gossiping, backstabbing, need to prove your worth.

Operating from an ABUNDANCE of esteem: skyrockets my value because I was bought at the dearest price the universe could ask for—the life of Jesus, Son of God.

Operating from a scarcity of love: social desperation, settling for conditional affection, and people-pleasing.

Operating from an ABUNDANCE of love: gives me unshakeable security, true love, true wisdom, and the ability to say “no.”

In a practical way, ABUNDANT LIFE brings the Kingdom into the workplace. The Kingdom of God operates on the economy of abundance, so abundant living is essentially applying the Kingdom’s operations manual to our workplaces. This understanding makes me work and live differently than most other attorneys.

Challenge and Prayer: Do you notice character flaws/unhealthy behavior patterns that are not pleasing to God? Is the root of these a scarcity mentality? What do you feel that you’re lacking? Ask God to convict you of the truth of His abundance; ask the Lord for the strength and wisdom to work, serve and live accordingly.

 

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 6-7

February 24, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals from February 20-24 are provided by Jabez Yeo.  Jabez, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently working in NYC and serving at TRPC-E.  He hopes to become a missionary.  His devotionals are based off material from Serge’s Sonship program. You can click here for more information.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Orphans through our Judgment

1 Timothy 1:8-11

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

24In the X-Men universe, one of the main protagonists, Professor Xavier, has telepathic powers through mutation and lives to help fellow mutants. By using his machine Cerebro, Xavier can enhance his telepathic powers to locate and communicate with mutants in distress. However, in the movie X2, both human and mutant antagonists, William Stryker and Magneto, attempt to use Cerebro to kill all mutants and humans respectively. Thankfully, the X-Men come to the rescue and the crisis is averted.

As spiritual orphans, we too can use anything meant for good in the wrong way, including God’s law. There are many good uses of the law, as it reveals God’s character and restrains wickedness (1 Tim 1:8). However, we give the law power it does not have when we expect it to justify us and give us life. While the law shows us what Christ is like, we use it wrongly when we expect it to secure righteousness that only faith can secure. Ultimately, the law has no power to produce the heart obedience God is looking for.

It is a good thing that the law convicts us of sin; it was not made for the righteous but for the unrighteous (1 Tim. 1:9-11). However, instead of running to Jesus for rescue, we gain relief from the law’s burden by not only trying to follow it but then also using it to compare ourselves with others who are “worse” than us. Even small things such as coming to church on time (which is a good thing in itself!) can be abused when we use it to feel more righteous than someone who is late. And by taking the position of being right and strong, we actually distance ourselves from our communities.

As God’s children, we have to remind ourselves that we are free from any condemnation (Rom. 8:1). Through Christ, our sins are paid for and His righteousness and perfect obedience is ours. Knowing that the law does not determine our acceptance with God allows us to extend that same acceptance to other lawbreakers like ourselves. Let’s do so today.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your many gifts, including Your Law. Thank You that it shows me how worthy You are of worship and how short I fall of Your standards. Instead of trying to justify myself, help me to run to You, my rock and my Redeemer. Help me to serve and love through the Law instead of judging and condemning others. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 5


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Galatians 6:12-16: Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. ­

Questions to Consider

  1. What were the intentions of those who were advocating circumcision?
  2. What instead does Paul boast about?
  3. What are you using as your “circumcision”?

Notes

  1. They wanted to impress others by means of the flesh (Gal. 6:12) rather than accepting their identity in Christ. Even those who had never been circumcised were pushing for it so that they may boast (Gal. 6:13).
  2. Paul, instead, boasts in the cross of Jesus Christ. At the cross is where we gain true knowledge of God and ourselves. At the cross we see God’s perfect love displayed for sinners and holy wrath against sin. At the cross we see our unworthiness and utter hopelessness without our Savior.
  3. Personal response (e.g. our degrees, our glorious past, our possessions, etc.)

EVENING REFLECTION

Reflect on today’s events, both big and small. What emotions were associated with those events and did they bring you closer to or farther from God and others? If there’s anything you need to confess, share it with the Lord and a close friend.  As God’s child, experience His healing and cleansing power today.

February 23, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals from February 20-24 are provided by Jabez Yeo.  Jabez, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently working in NYC and serving at TRPC-E.  He hopes to become a missionary.  His devotionals are based off material from Serge’s Sonship program. You can click here for more information.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Orphans through Self-righteousness

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

23A huge benefit of living in New York is all the fantastic art museums. Van Gogh’s Starry Night at MoMA, Monet’s Water Lilies collection at the Met, all a stone’s throw away. My appreciation for art mostly stems from the truth that my artistic skills are non-existent, a fact which some of our church’s children love to remind me of during craft time at Sunday school. But all in all, I am thankful that I can spend hours in New York, appreciating the wonder of different paintings and have peace in my inability to replicate such beauty.

Unfortunately, as one who acts as a spiritual orphan, I do not treat God’s law in the same way. Despite the beauty and perfection of God’s law (Psalm 19:7), I can somehow look at it and believe in my ability to meet its standards. What’s worse, I find myself choosing some of God’s laws to follow, while ignoring others. At the core of my abuse is a heart that declares, “Give me a law that I can fulfill and feel self-righteous.” This self-righteousness then leads to an elevated sense of my abilities and spiritual maturity.

The saddest part about our misuse of God’s law is that it draws us farther away from God. When we misperceive our ability to keep the law and forget our spiritual brokenness, we cut ourselves off from Christ’s power, which is only made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Of all the Christians who have ever lived, the apostle Paul had the most reasons to be confident in his righteousness and his adherence to God’s law (Phil. 3:5-6). Yet God allowed a thorn in his flesh to keep him from being conceited (2 Cor. 12:7) and from boasting about himself (2 Cor. 12:5).

Thus, a proper view of God’s law should lead us to the bad news: we are spiritually bankrupt and impoverished (Matt. 5:3). But praise be to God for the Good News, that our poverty in spirit can lead us to Christ and the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3).  Let’s come to God today.

Prayer: Father, I thank You for Your infinite perfection and beauty which You have displayed through Your written Word and Your living Word, Jesus Christ. I confess that I have abused your Word by acting as if I can meet its standards. Help me to know what it means to be poor in spirit, so that I can experience more of Your grace and Your power made perfect in my weakness. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 4


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Phil. 3:7-11: But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Paul now consider to have surpassing worth?
  2. Where does Paul claim His righteousness now comes from?
  3. What is some of the “garbage” that you are still clinging onto?

Notes

  1. Knowing Jesus Christ. Paul knew that to do so involved dying to self, so that he would know Christ more intimately through experiencing His resurrection power and participating in His sufferings.
  2. His righteousness now comes from God on the basis of faith, not his own righteousness that comes from the law.
  3. Personal response (e.g. excessive insecurity, petty jealousy, unwillingness to forgive, being afraid to open up, etc.)

EVENING REFLECTION

Oftentimes, our spiritual blindness prevents us from accurate self-assessment. Seek the Lord and ask for spiritual discernment to areas that have not been surrendered to Him. Ask for strength and power to address these areas once they are known. He will give you all that you need.

February 22, Wednesday

jabez2The AMI QT Devotionals from February 20-24 are provided by Jabez Yeo.  Jabez, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently working in NYC and serving at TRPC-E.  He hopes to become a missionary.  His devotionals are based off material from Serge’s Sonship program. You can click here for more information.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Orphans through Dishonesty

Romans 1:17

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Hebrews 11:6

“Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”

22A common struggle amongst graduates today is the fight to pay off their student debts.  As some of us know, living with debts often limits our financial flexibility.  Now, what if I were to tell you that upon graduation, not only would your student debt be paid for, you would also be credited with millions as your reward? It’s not a stretch to say that there would be significantly more freedom in your life.

While such an act of financial generosity may be a pipe dream, we as Christians have actually experienced an infinitely greater act of generosity. Because of our sins, we could only earn death in our spiritual bank accounts (Rom. 6:23). Yet through Jesus’ sacrificial death, not only was our debt removed; we have actually been credited, by faith, with the righteousness of Christ Himself.  Just as the earth simply receives rain from above, we too receive the righteousness of Christ that could not be earned or gained by our own power.

A significant implication of received righteousness is that we have the freedom to be humble and honest with our struggles. Unfortunately, we daily operate as spiritual orphans who believe that our deeds contribute to our spiritual ledger. When we are self-righteous and depend on what we do to make ourselves approved by God and others, we cannot look at our own sin. In fact, we have an incentive not to. It is too beneficial to be dishonest and too threatening to be exposed. Hypocrisy is then just a step away.

So how do we live as children instead of spiritual orphans? Just as we began: by faith. By faith, we receive what only God can give us: His forgiveness, His authority and His righteousness. Faith is the channel, the electrical cord, by which the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit flows into our daily lives. God’s children understand that He still saves sinners by faith, as that is just as much a part of their daily experience as it was when they first followed Christ. As God’s children, let’s come to Him in faith today.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You did not only wipe my slate clean but that You gave me the righteousness of Your Son that I never deserved. I confess that I still act as an orphan, depending on my efforts to save myself. I confess that I still act as if my deeds can earn your approval, despite the fact that it has already been given. Please bring me back to You and increase my faith in the all-sufficient sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 3


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read 1 John 1:9: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Questions to Consider

  1. What causes us to claim that we have not sinned? What happens as a result?
  2. What happens when we confess our sins?
  3. What do you need to confess to God and to others today?

Notes

  1. There can be many things that cause us to cover up our sins (our pride, fears, self-righteousness, etc.). What is clear when we do so is that we make God out be a liar and display our lack of faith in Him.We deceive ourselves when we act as if we can make up for our mistakes.
  2. God displays His faithfulness through His forgiveness and cleanses us, allowing us to experience Him in a greater and more powerful way.
  3. Personal response: a clear conviction of sin over what you said and/or did, a grain of humility, etc.

EVENING REFLECTION

Reflect on today’s events, both big and small. What emotions were associated with those events and did they bring you closer to or farther from God and others? If there’s anything you need to confess, share it with the Lord and a close friend.  As God’s child, experience His healing and cleansing power today.