Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals for August 8-14 are provided by Christine Li. Christine graduated from University of Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in New York City. She attends Remnant Church in Manhattan.
Devotional Thought for Today
John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
Parents know that, for better or for worse, kids adopt their characteristics. (Actually, you don’t even have to be a parent to have learned this.) I have a distinct memory of channeling my parents. I was six years old, helping my brother wash his hands in the church restroom. I got so upset at him for being heavy to carry, squirming, and splashing water on me, that I did what I thought my mom would do at the end of her rope: I chastised and lightly spanked him.
The best part of this was that a number of church aunties were standing behind us and thought this was a “precious” scene they had to relay to my embarrassed parents. Guess who got in trouble that day? Unfortunately for me, I hadn’t been able to help but imitate what I had seen my parents do before.
When we became believers, we became children of God. We are no longer just the products of the families we grew up in, with the same the habits, philosophies, and characteristics. Instead, our new identity through Christ allows us to be like our Heavenly Father. Our redeemed selves can be “holy as He is Holy,” and we can learn to love one another in the same complete ways that He demonstrates.
People can recognize whose parents children belong to by their looks and mannerisms. If we are God’s children, do we emulate Him? Do His character, His words, and His actions really come through in our lives?
Don’t be discouraged if you feel that His character seems far from yours today. Just as many of our human mannerisms and tendencies are “caught” from the time we spend in contact with one another, so it will also be with God. As the Spirit dwells within us, and we surround ourselves with His words and His presence, He will shine forth!
Prayer: Father, I want to be a child who reflects You! Make me like You so that others will look on and know without a doubt who I belong to. Today, let Your character blossom and bear fruit in my life as part of my witness to the world.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 137
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 5:38-48: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Questions to Consider
- Matthew 5 is full of Jesus’ instruction on righteous character we should aim for. What are certain qualities outlined here about the man/woman of God?
- Verse 44 says that we should follow these guidelines so that we “may be children of [our] Father in Heaven.” What about these qualities would confirm our son -/daughter-ship?
- Jesus ends this section commanding us to “Be perfect.” Why is that the theme of this section? What will it mean for you to seek God’s perfection in this area?
- Qualities found in the man/woman of God are the following: meekness, forgiveness, extraordinary generosity, love for those who show us no love.
- These qualities are significant because they are directly opposite of the decisions this world teaches. Revenge is our world’s modus operandi, but God’s path has mercy and grace. Showing love demonstrates God’s nature in us, because that is not our natural instinct.
- Striving to ”be perfect” seems impossible, but because Jesus came to impart the power and life of God in us, living in accordance with God’s nature is not unattainable. The theme to be perfect is a reminder that only one – God Himself –lives and loves in the most perfect manner. All we can do is be wholly dependent on Him to make any of this extraordinary power manifest in our lives.
No man has ever seen God, but we know His character and His habits, and all we have to do is simply carry His presence wherever we are. Are there places and opportunities in your life to demonstrate the Father’s character? Let’s pray that God will make Himself evident in our words and actions.