The AMI QT devotionals for February 13-19 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
Expectations v. Reality
1 Corinthians 4:10-13
We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. 14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children.
In the movie 500 Days of Summer, there is a scene juxtaposing the main character’s expectations with his reality. He is invited by his ex-girlfriend to a party hosted at her house; he arrives thinking that they will reconcile, but as the scene plays out, he finds out that it is actually a party to celebrate her engagement to another man. It is a very pitiable scene; I think many of us can relate to that disappointment of rosy expectations meeting a harsh reality.
What do we expect when we become followers of Christ? Is it just a better coping mechanism for the stresses of the world? Have we been told that trusting Christ means all of our financial inconveniences and poor health will be resolved? The apostle Paul is here to put to rest any misunderstanding the Corinthians, you, and I might have about Christian life.
Paul contrasts what the Corinthians have been striving for – wisdom, strength, honor – with what he and his disciples constantly experience. He tells them about the hardships, being very honest about the details of his persecution and poverty, not to create a guilty feeling within them, but for them to see plainly that they have held the wrong expectations for faith life. Following Christ is not a lottery win for personal gain; it is an invitation to discover humility and zeal for God’s kingdom.
The apostles and leaders of the early church faced resistance and hardship from the very beginning. What would keep them going? They had no guarantee of material richness, but what they received was an investment into eternity and a transformed character from God that has the power to endure, forgive, and to be humble in spirit.
Today, let’s reflect on whether we have wrong expectations for our lives, and ask God to replace them with spiritual reality. Few of us might be ready to embrace a life of hardship like Paul’s, but we can ask Him to gently turn our eyes towards eternity. As His kingdom becomes more and more of our priority, then we will not forgo the opportunity to fully spend our lives for Him. He will help us to live this life, whatever it holds, faithfully and bravely.
Prayer: Father, thank You for plainly showing me the real promises of faith. I do not want to follow You for things of this world but for treasures that will last all eternity. Lord, give me honesty to confess which things I am afraid of letting go. Please fine-tune my heart to understand that the riches of eternity will always outweigh any temporary pleasure that I want for this earth. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Song of Songs 6-7