The AMI QT devotionals from Feb. 6-12 are provided by Cami King. Cami, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, recently completed her M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary. She is currently serving as a staff at Journey Community Church in Raleigh.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY
1 Corinthians 1:26-31: Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. 27 But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, 29 so that no one can boast in his presence. 30 He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
You may have heard this familiar story about Muhammad Ali…
In Muhammad Ali’s heyday as the heavy weight champion in boxing, he had taken his seat on a 747 which was starting to taxi down the runway for take off. The flight attendant walked by and noticed Ali did not have on his seatbelt, and said, “Please fasten your seatbelt, sir.” He looked up proudly and snapped, “Superman don’t need no seatbelt.” Without hesitation she stared at him and said, “Superman don’t need no plane.”
God has made each of us great in different ways. But our greatness gets in our own way when we forget its source – not ourselves, but a gracious God who in loving creativity made us and endowed us with our gifts and talents. Most of us are as guilty as Ali (although certainly without as good a reason) of thinking as ourselves Super[wo]man and boasting in our abilities (even if not in such forthcoming terms). What’s worse, our society rewards this kind of warped, inflated sense of self – so much so that we resent words like weakness and lowliness.
But Paul reminds us today that it is our very condition of weakness, the ways in which we’re regarded as nothing in the world, which affords us opportunity to be used powerfully by God. Why? So that no one will be mistaken – we are not superhuman, we just serve a Super God!
What are the things about you that you take most pride in? Is it your intellect, beauty, talents (e.g. musical, artistic, etc.), wealth/resources, family, or accomplishments? Truth be told, we had no control over what gifts we were born with, whether it be our personality type, the opportunities we were afforded, our family of origin, our country of origin, who would be in our social circle. As much as we may work hard to make much of what we have, all we have (our very breath) is from the Lord. And all the ways we are “super” are not a declaration of our own glory, but of the glory of the God who made us.
Prayer: Almighty God, forgive me for my tendency to forget that all I am and all I have is from You. Thank You for the ways You’ve made me. Thank You for all my gifts and talents. Thank You for the resources and opportunities in my life. Help me to faithfully engage each of these things today not for my own glory or to make a name for myself, but for Yours. May I boast only in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Judges 20
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read 2 Corinthians 4: 7-12: But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.
Questions to Consider
- What is Paul communicating through the image of treasure in clay jars (or “earthen vessels”)?
- How might vv. 8-9 encourage those striving to live a faithful Christian life while faced with their own weaknesses?
- According to the passage, what makes it all worth it for those afflicted? How does this encourage you?
- The image is striking – why would anyone put something that is truly valuable in a cheap container? Why would anyone put beautiful jewels in something made of dirt? Why would anyone put something precious in an easily-broken jar? So that the jewels might shine and their beauty be unmistakably distinct from the humble container holding them. This is what God has done by placing His Holy Spirit, His gospel message, and His coming Kingdom in us.
- First, it reminds us that affliction, being perplexed, persecution, being struck down, and the like are all normal part of the Christian journey. When we come face to face with our weaknesses and limitations – be it a result of our own sinfulness or of persecutions from those around us – we can take comfort in knowing we’re right on course with those who’ve gone before us. It also assures us that no circumstances or weakness or limitation can utterly ruin us – it may stretch us, test us, challenge us, wound us – but it cannot destroy us. In fact, God is using all these things to “manifest in our body” the life of Jesus. That’s good news!
- As previously stated, God uses the tough stuff to birth in us the life of Jesus. The very things that should destroy us are being used by our heavenly Father to shape and mold us into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
But he 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” (2 Corinthians 12:19).
This morning we spent time thinking about ourselves in which we take most pride. What are some of your greatest weaknesses? (It can be a personality trait, past experience, present season of suffering, persistent sin struggle, personal or professional limitation, etc.). Spend some time reflecting on these things with the Lord, believing that He is forming Christ-likeness in you. Offer your areas of weaknesses to God as areas where His grace can prove sufficient and where His power can be revealed in your life.