Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals for September 5-6 are provided by Christine Li of TRPC (NYC).
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Isaiah 29:13: The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
Growing up, I watched my parents call overseas family members every day. So when I moved away, I picked up a habit of calling home twice a day; however, I can attest that the frequency with which I call my parents has not always been indicative of an extraordinary relationship with them.
Throughout the years, my parents will point out various aspects of our conversations that are lacking– I rush or speak curtly because my mind is elsewhere; I schedule convenient times of my day but never think that these could be inconvenient times for my parents. Yes, I call dutifully, but in prioritizing the routine, I often miss out on the purpose– to spend time, connect, and listen so we can grow in our love for each other.
As I continually reassess how to communicate better with my parents, I am reminded of similar pitfalls in our relationships with God. He, too, saw dutiful people whose hearts were distant; they went through the motions with no enthusiasm to meet with Him. What a tragic picture we would not want mirrored in any of our relationships – polite and structured but lacking warmth and openness.
However, in our modern-day attempts to be faithful, we often schedule God for only certain days of the week or times of the day. We approach Him to quickly pay our respects but do not set out significant time and effort to grow our relationship with Him. Others can be deceived by our devoted appearance, but our hearts and affections are not fully engaged, and our love for Him is dry.
If you feel that your routines have trapped you in a stale, uninspired relationship with God, let’s reassess how to seek Him in a fresh way –have your quiet times in a different place, read through the Word with a friend, or approach Him during a different time of day (after your meals instead of before?). Let’s break out of the habit of reducing our relationship with God into rituals. No matter what adjustments have to be made, we can trust that He is always attentive and will surely meet us when we seek Him with all our heart.
Prayer: Father, I confess that I can fall into a mindless routine of honoring You while withholding my heart. Forgive me for attempting to substitute this costly, precious relationship through Christ with my mindless routines. Fill my heart with joy and delight in You; help me to hold onto that love and walk in step with You day by day.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 13-14