The AMI QT Devotionals for March 28-April 2 are provided by Doug Tritton. Doug, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently serving as a staff at Symphony Church (Boston) while pursuing a M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary. He is married to Cindy and they are proud parents of Audrey.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY
For the Body
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
When I was in high school, I played the trombone—and the trombone is known for having the capacity to be very loud. I remember one orchestra concert that had an epic ending, with a long note that would be held by the entire orchestra. But in my immaturity and pride, I saw that note as my moment to shine. So, during the concert, while many people were watching and listening, once we got to that epic note, I let loose with all the sound I could muster out of the trombone. It was so loud that even the conductor was thrown off and forgot to give the cue to move on from that note!
According to our passage for today, this is what many of us do with our spiritual gifts. God gave us gifts to use together for the sake of the church in love, yet in our immaturity and pride we twist them to be about ourselves. We end up being a distraction, just like I distracted the orchestra by my very loud note. These gifts end up becoming hindrances to God’s work, just like my blaring note was a hindrance to the orchestra performance. And in this, there is no love.
Yet, when done in love, these gifts become notes of grace that complement others’ gifts, creating a beautiful symphony to our Lord. That was the intent of spiritual gifts – to be used for building up the church. And this is not a task for just the loud ones or the ones who are good with words or the ones who seem to have faith all figured out – this is a task for every person in the church. So today, let’s reflect on our spiritual gifts, asking ourselves: Am I using these God-given gifts for myself or for the sake of the church? Have I made them to be about me, or about others?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for giving us all spiritual gifts for the task of building up the body. Help us to turn the focus of these gifts away from ourselves and towards the church, for building up the body. Forgive us for the ways our pride has made us feel entitled to our giftings. Instead, help us to focus our attention on You, so that our gifts simply become a way for You to work through us. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 17
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read Romans 12:3-5: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Questions to Consider
- How should we think of ourselves, according to this passage?
- What does it mean to be one body in Christ?
- In what ways can you serve the body with your gifts?
- This passage tells us not to think too highly of ourselves, but rather to think of ourselves with sober judgment, meaning honest judgment. This means we don’t inflate ourselves, but we look at ourselves as others see us. This is hard to do! The easiest way to do this is by letting others speak freely into our lives.
- To be one body in Christ means that all members, just like all body parts in a physical body, are used in the operation of the church. A church is deficient to the extent that its members are not using their gifts for the sake of the church. God’s intent was that all members would be used.
- Think honestly (sober judgment) about the ways God has gifted you. Are you thinking too lowly of yourself? Remember, God has gifted ALL members for the sake of the church, including you! Are you thinking too highly of yourself? Remember, your gifts are for the sake of the body, the church, not you. Now, looking at your gifts with sober judgment, ask yourself, How can I serve the body?
Tonight, as you go to sleep, take some time to repent of any pride that has clouded your perception of yourself and the gifts God has given you. Ask God for opportunities to use your gifts humbly and effectively for the church.