Note: The AMI Quiet Time Devotionals from October 24-30 are written by Andy Kim. Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University, is about to complete his M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is currently serving as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco, CA.
Devotional Thought for Today
So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.
“If God shows me a sign, then I will go.” How often have we uttered the same prayer, only to find ourselves frustrated and lost? I have wondered why God does not reveal Himself in the manner He did in the Old Testament. Surely if He split not even the sea, but even a small pond, people would come to believe. Yet we see that even though the Israelites saw the sea divide, walked over dry ground, and saw manna fall from heaven, their hearts were hardened after times of testing. Ironically, it seems that the more they saw God move, the less they believed in Him. More importantly, because of their unbelief, they could not enter the Promised Land.
John Piper provides an explanation for this: “It is possible to taste of these things, be deeply affected by them, and to be in unbelief because Jesus Christ himself is not your hearts’ delight and hope and confidence and reward.” In fact, the writer of Hebrews urges us to hold to our original convictions in Christ alone. Perhaps faith is less about seeing God move but more about believing in what you cannot see and being certain of the hope that is found in Him (Hebrews 11:1). Only by such faith can we endure through the trials of life and receive life’s greatest reward—which is Christ Himself. Faith based on signs and wonders proves to be shallow and wavering, but faith in Christ is deeply rooted and unshakeable.
Jesus says, “Because you see me, you believe; but blessed are those who have no seen and yet have believed”(John 20:29). Oh, how easy it is to forget our original convictions when our eyes only look for the signs of God! We can easily forget the many ways in which God has been faithful and has done the impossible in our lives. May we change our perspective from a “show us and then we’ll go,” to what the Lord originally promised, “Go, and I’ll show you.” May we hold onto our original convictions and put our complete faith in Him. Ask the Lord to increase your faith in Him.
Prayer: Lord, may the object of my faith be You and You alone. I confess that I lose sight of all the ways in which You have been faithful. And in times of testing, I put my trust in other things and myself. In the areas in which I lack faith in, I want to believe, but help my unbelief. Thank You for all the ways in which You have been faithful. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Mark 2
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Peter 1:6-9 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Questions to Consider
- How can we rejoice when we go through trials and our faith is tested?
- What is the difference between being happy vs. being joyful?
- Why does Peter say we should persevere in our sufferings?
- Peter states that the trials we face—both short and long—are momentary in comparison to eternity. Sometimes all we can see are the trials in our lives, but as Christians we look towards Christ, though He cannot be seen. But through Him, we have received the salvation of our souls. This salvation is our guarantee of our eternity and the source of joy in our lives.
- Happiness is merely an emotion that focuses on the moment, whereas joy is a promise that focuses on eternity. To rejoice in suffering does not mean to convince yourself to be happy; rather, it is to focus your thoughts on the promise of eternity that awaits us.
- The testing of our faith is the way for us to prove the authenticity of our faith. As fire refines gold to its purest form, trials refine our character. Those who persist await the reward of praise, glory and honor through Jesus Christ. Warren Wiersbe says, “A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.” In many cases trials are the prerequisite for God’s will to be furthered in our lives, so that He can entrust us with the greater works of His Kingdom.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “The fiery furnace is very hot; but the Son of man is in it with you; and, by His grace, you shall come out of the furnace before long.” During trials, we are tempted to fix our eyes on getting out, but may we fix our eyes on Jesus who promises to be with us during these trials. May He remind you of the eternal salvation and glory that awaits you in the life to come. May our complaints be replaced with this greater hope and expectation!