July 4, Monday

4Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from July 4-10 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef and math wizard).  They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.

Devotional Thought for Today

Colossians 3:1-4:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

“If then we have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above… “

4Some people (beginning with the Monastics in the early church) see ascetism as a response to the challenge of our flesh, but Paul writes in Colossians 2 that denying the flesh has “no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”  So how then can we find freedom from fleshly, earthly things?

Let me ask a different question:  Where do you live?  Pause for a moment and take time to answer.  No, not your address.  Where do you live?  What is your reality?

How you answer this question will determine how you live your life.  If we view our reality primarily in terms of what we see around us, then we will live according to the values of that reality.  Afterall, our life is conditioned by the reality we perceive: relationships, work, meals, money, etc.

Paul tells us that when we live for those things, we are living in an earthly way.  But when we live as though those things are evil and to be avoided, ironically, we are still being conditioned by that earthly reality.  We are just rebelling against it.  Neither is the way to go.  Freedom doesn’t come as we seek to avoid the earthly reality; rather, we need to live in a new reality.

When Paul tells us to seek the “things that are above,” he is asking that we intentionally commit to living the values of heaven.   Heaven is where everything is happening just as God wills.  You see that is where we live now.  If you have received Christ’s work on the cross, you have died to your old reality, and you have been raised with Christ into His heavenly reality.  Yes, we are still living on earth, but we also live in the reality that God is real, loving, and with us.  That’s why Jesus’s death and resurrection is Good News.  It’s also our only hope for freedom.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, what an amazing truth this is!  Thank You that my reality is not defined by what I see around me but by Your presence, goodness, love and grace.  Help me to become more aware of this new reality.  I ask that Your nearness would be tangible to us.  As this happens, help me to let go of earthly desires and be captivated by the desires of Your heart.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 97

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Lunch Break Study

Read the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew 6:9-13:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,

12 and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

Questions to Consider

  1. What do we learn about God the Father from this prayer?
  2. This prayer begins with a concern for God’s reputation and His kingdom rather than our own desires. How is this reflected in your prayers?
  3. In what ways has the Holy Spirit been revealing God’s will to you?

Notes

  1. We learn from this prayer that God is hallowed (aka, holy), that He is a King whose Kingdom is coming, that he gives us daily bread, forgives and delivers.
  2. Personal response.
  3. Personal response.

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Evening Reflection  

Are you growing in the knowledge of Jesus – His death and resurrection?  Many times we begin our relationship with Christ in grace but then turn to the flesh.  Our hope for growth lies in continuing to fix our eyes on Christ and His reality.  Journal today about some ways you desire to grow in your awareness of the heavenly reality.

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