August 6, Thursday

Editor’s Note:  The AMI Quiet Time devotionals from August 6-7 are provided by Doug Tritton of Symphony Church in Boston.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

2 Kings 5:19-23: He said to him, “Go in peace.” But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” So Gehazi followed Naaman. And when Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?” And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me to say, ‘There have just now come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.’” And Naaman said, “Be pleased to accept two talents.” And he urged him and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and laid them on two of his servants. And they carried them before Gehazi.

6In this passage, Elisha had just healed the Syrian man Naaman of leprosy. Upon being healed, Naaman requested to give a gift to Elisha, but Elisha refused. But Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, was not so willing to say no to a gift. More than likely Gehazi was thinking, Elisha spared this Syrian man, this oppressor of Israel, so of course we deserve a gift from him! Gehazi then proceeds to tell a story of the family of prophets in need of silver and clothes, and Naaman quickly agrees to provide. Gehazi, taking advantage of Naaman’s generosity, receives the gift for himself.

On the surface, we may look at this and think, Wow, what greed! But remember, Gehazi was traveling with Elisha, a man who did not live an easy life. They likely had very little possessions as well as their lives being quite tiring and difficult. For once, someone was willing to give to them, to provide some much needed resources—but Elisha refused. Gehazi, eyes wide with anticipation, found disappointment once again. Yet, this time, he would take matters into his own hands because, as Gehazi likely believed, they deserved this gift.

Have you ever had a long battle, whether a season of emotional struggle or a period of difficult circumstances? In those seasons, we often can justify giving into temptation, giving into self-centeredness. We may think, Just this one time, it is ok for me to feed my desires. I deserve this. Self-justification is much easier in a time of struggle. But remember, our whole lives are a battle. This world is a battle and when we give in, we give room for the enemy. We are called to stand firm in all seasons, to stand firm without ever giving in, regardless of circumstances.

Today, let’s search ourselves. Are we facing any struggles that we use to justify greed, to justify selfishness, to justify self-centeredness? Let’s release those to God and pray for the strength to, again, stand firm in Him.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for being the giver of all strength. I know You always fight for me. Help me to stand firm, knowing that You are my shield and my strength. Let me be girded in the full armor of God that I may stand strong until I see You face to face. May temptation and selfishness have no way in me, for my heart is Yours.

Bible Reading for Today: Micah 6

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Lunch Break Study

Read Ephesians 6:10-13: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might”?
  2. What do we fight against? What does this mean?
  3. What will enable us to stand firm?

Notes

  1. Being strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might means that we do not find strength in ourselves. How easy it is to try to take matters into our own hands and fight for ourselves. That is what culture tells us to do: be strong, be independent, and protect yourself. But true strength only comes when we see ourselves as wholly dependent on God
  2. We fight against the powers of darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil. This means we do not fight against other people. Yes, confrontation is necessary with others; yes, people can hurt us. But we are all sinners in need of grace. Let us not make other people our enemies, but rather remember we have one Enemy who has already been conquered by Christ on the cross.
  3. We stand firm when we put on the full armor of God! This requires surrender, letting go of our own strength and trusting in God’s strength and protection. Only He can truly protect us in the battles we face in our lives.

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 Evening Reflection

Reflect on your current circumstances. Have your present circumstances made you more self-centered? Take some time to repent of any self-centeredness and pray for your heart to be reoriented to God.  Pray that God would provide His strength that you may stand firm in every trial.

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