May 2, Monday

Editor’s Note:  Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Doug Triton (Symphony Church).

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 22:1-3

“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.”

2In thinking about public speaking, I came up with a framework of three levels: The first level is to know your content; a presentation needs content or else there really isn’t anything to present. The second level is to know your audience and tailoring your message to them; a message could have great content but if it’s not relatable, it will fall flat. The third and final level is to enter into the lives of the audience; great speakers are not great just because they have great content or have great personalities, but they can actually enter into our reality and speak as if they know us—there is something powerful when people speak as if they are one of us.

In this passage, Paul addresses a group of Jews concerning his calling to the Gentiles. However, he first explains who he is, but more than just explaining with content, he meets them where they are, in the language they speak—Aramaic. And what happened when the Jews heard Paul speaking in Aramaic? The passage tells us that “they became very quiet.” He got their attention.

When we can speak someone’s language, know their culture and their ways, we can speak into their lives more effectively and be heard, rather than seeming like some distant outsider. This gets people’s attention and opens the door to real impact and influence. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a public speaking setting; this can be in everyday conversations as well. And, really, isn’t that what God did for us in Jesus? He is Immanuel—God with us! And more than just being with us, He became like one of us—taking on our flesh and blood—and lived like us and among us.

There is something powerful about meeting someone where they are. You become more relatable, more real, just like what Jesus did for us: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Heb. 4:15).  As Christians, we are called to be in the world as God’s ambassadors. However, if we speak down to people or speak only “Christianese” or do not relate in any way, how can we make an impact? However, if we “take on the flesh” of those whom we are trying to reach and understand, we can become powerful influencers for Jesus.

Prayer

Lord, thank You that You took on our flesh so that we could be set free. Thank You for taking our burdens and our sins so that we no longer need to bear it. Help us to be ambassadors of You to this broken world, to not take ourselves out of the world but rather be used by You to be salt and light. Use us where we are for Your Kingdom’s sake.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 24

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Lunch Break Study

Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21: From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the ministry of reconciliation?
  2. What does it mean to be an “ambassador for Christ”?
  3. How can you be an ambassador in your own life and context?

Notes

  1. The ministry of reconciliation is pointing to the truth that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself.” Ministers of reconciliation are not the ones who do the reconciliation, but rather they point to the truth that reconciliation with God is possible and available through Christ.
  2. Being an ambassador for Christ means we allow God to make “his appeal through us.” I like the use of the word “allow”; this is a passive word, meaning we simply allow ourselves to be used by God to reconcile others to Himself. We are not the reconcilers—only God is. Also, the use of the word “ambassador” is key to understanding our role. Ambassadors represent their country to a foreign nation; likewise, our home is with God, but we live in the world as His image, pointing others to Him.
  3. Think about your workplace, where you go to school, the people you interact with, or any other context you are currently in: how can you “take on their flesh” so that you can relate effectively with them, all the while pointing back to your true home in God?

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Evening Reflection

Tonight, thank God for being the true Reconciler. Also, invite His Spirit to give you the strength to be His ambassador, so that through us others may be reconciled to Him. Perhaps you can pray for one or two people whom you are currently trying to reach for Jesus.

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