Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals for March 2-8 are provided by Doug Tritton. Doug, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently pursuing a M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary while working fulltime. Doug is married to Cindy and they serve at Symphony Church in Boston.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“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. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.”
I did not grow up as a Christian but became one during my college years. But when I first became a Christian, I was quite ashamed of myself and my past; I was reluctant to share with anyone about who I had been, because I was afraid I would be considered a phony or not fit in to the church community. Though I felt forgiven, there was a sense in which I was not yet set free from my past. It was quite some time later when I came to have a more holistic understanding of my identity in Christ.
Here in Acts, Paul was addressing the Jews and he brought up his past. Though his past was marred by sin – he persecuted Christians and had a role in the execution of Stephen – he was not ashamed to use it to make his point. He was not ashamed to show the power of the grace of God in His life. That’s what a personal testimony is all about – testifying to the power of grace in your life.
Perhaps there is shame in your life which you are afraid to confront and you feel uncomfortable sharing with others. Maybe not now, but perhaps at some point God will bring up your past experiences—whether good or bad—for the purposes of His kingdom. Our God, the great Redeemer, can redeem our broken pasts for His Kingdom work. Remember Paul, who having a broken past said that he’d “boast in all the more gladly about [his] weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on [him]” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Our life in Christ does not involve sweeping our past, our sin, our shame under the rug. Rather, our life in Christ is about letting the grace of God come into every area of our life—even the darkest and dirtiest corners—so that the grace of God may bring redemption.
Lord, thank You that when You came to die on the cross, You did not die so that our sins may be hidden; You died so that our sins may be fully redeemed. Help us to embrace Your grace in every area of our lives so that shame may have no place in us. Help us to see that Your power is made perfect in weakness and that in our weakness, Your power is more fully known. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 25
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: But [the Lord] 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. 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.
Questions to Consider
- How is Christ’s power made perfect in weakness?
- Why did Paul boast about His weaknesses?
- Do you think you could delight in your weaknesses?
- If were perfect people, there would be no need for grace, no need for Christ’s power. But since we are broken and sinful, we need the power of Christ to bring freedom. And only when we embrace our brokenness and confess our utter need for Christ can the power of grace come into our lives. This is why Christ’s power is made perfect in weakness; because in embracing our weakness, we give room for God to have His way in our lives.
- In boasting about his weaknesses, Paul was giving room for the power of Christ in His life. If he rather boasted about his strengths, he would be trusting in his own abilities and there would be no power of God in his life.
- Think honestly about this. We cannot easily delight in our weaknesses because we want to be self-reliant, to prove ourselves. But remember, Christ is the One we need to trust and not ourselves.
Spend some time reflecting on your past. Is there any shame in your life that you’ve been afraid to bring to God? Use this time to let the power of God rest over your weaknesses.