November 30, Wednesday

Note: The AMI QT Devotionals for November 29-30 are provided by Jabez Yeo.  Jabez, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently working in NYC and serving at TRPC-E.  He hopes to become a missionary.

Devotional Thought for Today

1 Timothy 4:12: Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

30As mentioned yesterday, Cyril, in spite of his character flaws, ably explained how Christ took on human nature while remaining fully divine; that, however, did not end the debate because of the monophysites, who argued that the divinity and humanity of Christ were so fused in him that it resulted in a third nature.

In response, the theologian Leonitus explained the principle of “enhypostatsia” (i.e. “in person”) by noting three ways that two beings are united[1]:

  • Side by side as in friendship, which was the Nestorian belief: Jesus’ humanity and divinity in two natures and two persons working together.
  • Blending into a hybrid, which was the monophysite belief: Jesus is a mixture of human and divine but neither one fully.
  • Two natures so united that their distinct natures exist in a single hypostasis (i.e. an underlying reality), which was what Leonitus taught. He used the example of a torch, which is both wood and flame, completely united by fire. While wood and flame can have its own existence, they do not in the torch; they interpenetrate because they are held together by the underlying reality of fire.

Leonitus then noted that Christ’s unfallen human nature had everything except independence from the Logos (i.e., Christ’s divinity). From the moment Jesus’ humanity existed, it had its personhood in the Logos. Thus, the personhood of Jesus (hence “enhypostatsia”) is the underlying reality that held together Jesus’ dual natures of humanity and divinity.  (Did you get all this?)

Despite Leonitus’ theological contribution, not much is known about him, except that he began serving at a monastery when he was twenty years old.[2] He remained faithful and continued to participate in various theological discussions [3] before his seminal contribution of “enhypostatsia.”

At times, we discount ourselves because of our youth and believe that Christian living is possible only after attaining a certain level of maturity. We may feel like our efforts won’t contribute much, if at all. However, as shown in Leonitus’ life, we have no idea how God may use our present efforts to prepare us for His future work. Let’s not use our youth as an excuse and begin living for Him today!

Prayer:  Lord, there are times when I feel so helpless because of a lack of experience. I often feel like there are things only “spiritual giants” can accomplish, and that I have nothing to contribute. Lord, help me to fully depend on You, and I ask that You work in and through me. Help me not let anyone, including myself, look down on me because of my youth. Rather, help me to be unafraid of living for You in all aspects of my life. In Your Name I pray, amen.

[1] Olson, Roger. The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform.

[2] http://www.greekorthodox.org.au/general/resources/publications/articledetails.php?page=187&article_id=44

[3] http://www.britannica.com/biography/Leontius-of-Byzantium

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 19

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Lunch Break Study

Read Hebrews 6:10: God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

1 Cor. 16:17: I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

Questions to Consider

  1. When we feel discouraged because no one seems to notice the hard work we put in to help build a ministry, what should we remember?
  2. When we see people work hard among us, what should we do?
  3. What is one lesson we can learn from the important work of Leonitus that hardly gets recognized?

Notes

  1. We must remember that God will not forget our work done to help His people—God is just and does not forget to reward those who merits it.  (Since He gives us more than what we truly deserve, this, too, is His grace.)
  2. I agree with the apostle Paul who teaches that such men deserve recognition. Recognizing those who work hard should be done at appropriate moments; on the other hand, those who do the work shouldn’t do so to be recognized by men.
  3. We are assured that God gave Leontius his due reward in heaven for making an important contribution to the understanding of the dual nature in the single person of Jesus Christ.  At the end of our life, that’s all that truly matters.

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Evening Reflection

As you look back to this day, were you annoyed that your good work went unnoticed by those who should have done so?  Even worse, did you feel like the wrong person got the credit you deserved?  How should you respond when you feel like injustice was done against you?

Perhaps a verse like Matthew 6:3-4 gives you the perspective you need: “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

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