March 1, Wednesday

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

Great Expectations

1 Cor. 6:1-3

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

1Perhaps because I am Asian, I have high expectations for my oldest child.  I realize that I am being a bit unfair to Simon, my oldest, but oftentimes he will get yelled at for doing something that his younger siblings wouldn’t be scolded for.  I often hold him accountable and am unsympathetic when he allows his brother to get into his stuff and makes a mess of it.  For example, the other day, Simon comes running to me in fury: “Look what Jonny did to my Lego set that took me a week to build!”  I responded, “Who left it on the ground for him to get at?  If you value your stuff and don’t want your siblings to wreck it, put them away where they can’t reach them.”  Truthfully, I don’t know if this is the best parenting—I’m just trying my best.

Deep down, Simon being the oldest only accounts for about 10% of why my expectations are so high for him.  The truth of the matter is, I think my son is intelligent.  When I compare my oldest with the rest of my kids—and sure, as the oldest, there was a stretch of time where he was the only one my wife and I had to invest in– but for whatever reason, he seems to be the most advanced.  I don’t know if I’m suffering from revisionist history, but I feel like I haven’t had help Simon get dressed since he was two.  Meanwhile, my five year old still requires the royal treatment to carefully place every piece of clothing and accessory on her.  Anyway, while I have high expectations for all my kids, they are highest for my oldest.

I think Paul had high expectations for the church in Corinth as well.  Apparently, in our passage, there seems to have been some civil dispute between two church members, which was being brought to the secular court for deliberation.  Instead of offering to mediate, Paul rebuked the entire congregation, making the point that as saints, they would one day judge the world and angels, so they should be competent to judge “trivial” matters (vv. 2-3).  This rebuke may seem harsh, but why was the apostle so bothered?  It’s because the Corinthians lost sight of the truth of who they were in God and started to act like everyone else.  In other words, they were lowering the bar for themselves and the church.

What about you?  Are you guilty of forgetting who you are when you set goals for yourself?  How about for other people? Maybe you have a brother or friend who is messed up. Do you forget that this person is made in the image of God as well?  Are your expectations for yourself or others too low because you fear of being too harsh or not acting in grace?  Or do you dream that people can act and become the men and women that God designed, and dare I say, expects us to be?

Prayer: Lord, help me to see myself and those around me as people who are genuinely made in Your image.  Help me conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel, not because I’m trying to be perfect, but because this is who I am. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 11


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read 2 Timothy 2:1-7: You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Questions to Consider:

  1. In vv. 3-4, Paul compares the Christian to a soldier. What aspects of a soldier’s life help us in our own Christian lives?
  2. In v. 5, Paul compares the Christian to an athlete. How does your life in faith relate to an athlete in training?
  3. In v. 6, Paul compares the Christian life to a farmer. How does this analogy help you?

Notes:

  1. The soldier does not get distracted by civilian affairs; he is singularly focused and only aims to please his commanding officer. Obviously, obey God and having singular focus on the Kingdom would suit the believer well.
  2. The athlete has to compete within the rules of the competition; similarly, Christians must obey God. Athletes also must diligently train; similarly, self-denial is key to following Christ.
  3. The farmer must work hard; he must also depend on God to yield the harvest. Christians are called to both persevere and depend on the Lord.

EVENING REFLECTION

Today’s theme was about understanding our identity in Christ as well as understanding that others are made in the image of God.  Who are you in God’s sight?  What does that identity mean for you?  Do you see your life as a glorious calling, or have you set the bar too low?  If it’s the latter, let’s learn to hope again.

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