February 23, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals from February 20-24 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.  His devotionals are based off material from Serge’s Sonship program. You can click here for more information.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Orphans through Self-righteousness

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

23A huge benefit of living in New York is all the fantastic art museums. Van Gogh’s Starry Night at MoMA, Monet’s Water Lilies collection at the Met, all a stone’s throw away. My appreciation for art mostly stems from the truth that my artistic skills are non-existent, a fact which some of our church’s children love to remind me of during craft time at Sunday school. But all in all, I am thankful that I can spend hours in New York, appreciating the wonder of different paintings and have peace in my inability to replicate such beauty.

Unfortunately, as one who acts as a spiritual orphan, I do not treat God’s law in the same way. Despite the beauty and perfection of God’s law (Psalm 19:7), I can somehow look at it and believe in my ability to meet its standards. What’s worse, I find myself choosing some of God’s laws to follow, while ignoring others. At the core of my abuse is a heart that declares, “Give me a law that I can fulfill and feel self-righteous.” This self-righteousness then leads to an elevated sense of my abilities and spiritual maturity.

The saddest part about our misuse of God’s law is that it draws us farther away from God. When we misperceive our ability to keep the law and forget our spiritual brokenness, we cut ourselves off from Christ’s power, which is only made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Of all the Christians who have ever lived, the apostle Paul had the most reasons to be confident in his righteousness and his adherence to God’s law (Phil. 3:5-6). Yet God allowed a thorn in his flesh to keep him from being conceited (2 Cor. 12:7) and from boasting about himself (2 Cor. 12:5).

Thus, a proper view of God’s law should lead us to the bad news: we are spiritually bankrupt and impoverished (Matt. 5:3). But praise be to God for the Good News, that our poverty in spirit can lead us to Christ and the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3).  Let’s come to God today.

Prayer: Father, I thank You for Your infinite perfection and beauty which You have displayed through Your written Word and Your living Word, Jesus Christ. I confess that I have abused your Word by acting as if I can meet its standards. Help me to know what it means to be poor in spirit, so that I can experience more of Your grace and Your power made perfect in my weakness. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 4


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Phil. 3:7-11: But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does Paul now consider to have surpassing worth?
  2. Where does Paul claim His righteousness now comes from?
  3. What is some of the “garbage” that you are still clinging onto?

Notes

  1. Knowing Jesus Christ. Paul knew that to do so involved dying to self, so that he would know Christ more intimately through experiencing His resurrection power and participating in His sufferings.
  2. His righteousness now comes from God on the basis of faith, not his own righteousness that comes from the law.
  3. Personal response (e.g. excessive insecurity, petty jealousy, unwillingness to forgive, being afraid to open up, etc.)

EVENING REFLECTION

Oftentimes, our spiritual blindness prevents us from accurate self-assessment. Seek the Lord and ask for spiritual discernment to areas that have not been surrendered to Him. Ask for strength and power to address these areas once they are known. He will give you all that you need.

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