The AMI QT Devotionals from February 27-March 5 are provided by Pastor Yohan Lee who serves at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY
Watch that Edge!
1 Corinthians 5:1-2
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
Like many women who are approaching middle-age, my wife loves the movie Dirty Dancing (I don’t know if my wife will be too happy that I classified her as “approaching middle-age,” but I’m rolling with it). In fact, around my birthday she suggested that we go watch the 30th anniversary of the film as it was released in select theaters for one weekend only! Obviously, I was not too thrilled at the prospects of being trapped in a movie theater filled with middle-aged women watching Dirty Dancing on my birthday. Anyway, if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s got a pretty classic plot: idealistic, innocent, nice girl, nicknamed Baby (Jennifer Grey) falls for bad boy dance instructor Johnny (Patrick Swayze). Yes, I did just write “bad boy dance instructor”!
I know the plot sounds hokey, but the reason the movie works is because the late great Patrick Swayze played the role of Johnny to a tee. He always wore black, rode a motorcycle, got into fights, disrespected the boss, and could lift Baby over his head and hold her there for what seemed like an eternity in the final dance scene. In a word, Johnny was edgy (and I don’t mean pretend edgy, like hipsters; I mean real edgy), and human beings have this strange fascination with edgy people. Girls loved Johnny because he was edgy and could dance; guys wanted to be like Johnny because he would not conform to the parent’s ideas of society norms, and no one could tell him what to do.
Here’s my point as it relates to today’s passage: I have noticed that many Christians in our generation want to be edgy as well. When it comes to how we live our Christian lives, we don’t want to conform to past generation’s ideas of propriety or godliness, nor do we like to be told what to do. Now the problem with edginess is that when it’s not grounded in a careful understanding of the Bible and a prayerful walk with God, it can quickly become an avenue to abuse grace and indulge our sinful natures. Let’s face it: edginess by definition tows the line between safe and falling off the “edge” of a cliff.
When I look at the incident described in our passage, most people would wonder, How on earth could the Corinthian church allow one of its members to go so far over the edge that he sleeps with his own stepmom, while the rest of them brag (or are arrogant) about it? This is an egregious act. However, before we dismiss the Corinthians as brain dead, let me share with you what I think happened. At first, a few intelligent and edgy followers realized that not all of the Mosaic Law applied to believers (see Rom 14); then the next batch, who were ungrounded, unspiritual, and carnal, starting thinking, Well, maybe these laws about sexual purity don’t apply to believers either. Next thing you know, one of these people takes sin to the next level thinking, I can sleep with my stepmom, and you shouldn’t judge me. In fact, you should celebrate the liberty I have found in Christ! Now if my theory sounds far-fetched to you, let me ask you: Where do you see the trend when it comes to thinking among young Christians in regard to sexuality, cohabitation, drug use, alcohol consumption, etc.? Are we biblically edgy or are we in a real danger of falling off the cliff? Where are you? This morning, let’s examine our lives. What is your motivation for wanting to be edgy? Is it truly to honor Christ or is it to indulge your flesh? What does it mean to follow Christ and to live lives that are set apart for Him?
Lord, help me to enjoy a life that honors You. Let me enjoy liberty in Christ. Let me always be Your witness and follower. Guard me from legalism and licentiousness. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 9
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read Romans 12:1-2: I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Questions to Consider:
- How did Paul describe worship in this passage?
- How is transformation achieved in this passage?
- Why was it important to have a renewed mind? What does that mean for you today?
- The obvious answer is that our bodies (or lives) are to be given to the Lord. However, the key words are “holy” and “acceptable.” In the OT it was never acceptable to sacrifice just any lamb or goat; God wanted you to set one apart (as holy) and it had to be of high quality. Similarly, our lives should be set apart and of high quality.
- We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. In other words, we need to think like God does and to love the things He loves.
- Only with a godly mind are we able to discern what is good, acceptable, and perfect. Today, too many people rely on their own morals/brains to determine good, and as we have seen repeatedly, they repeatedly fail.
Today we talked about how quickly one can fall off the edge and the importance of having a renewed mind. Are there things in your life that you need to cut out? Maybe they aren’t overtly sinful, but if you are honest, do they indulge your sinful nature? And are you cultivating a mind that thinks like God and filters out the world’s perspective?