May 14, Sunday

The AMI QT Devotionals from May 8-14 are provided by Emerson Lin.  Emerson, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, serves as a staff at Kairos Christian Church, while studying at Talbot School of Theology.  He is married to Annie.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

2 Corinthians 10:18

For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

If you have been following the NBA (National Basketball Association), there has been a notorious character flooding the sports news – Lavar Ball, the father of UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball.  He has been making outrageous claims that his son, without being drafted onto a NBA team, is already better than Stephen Curry and Michael Jordan. More recently, BBB (Big Baller Brand), Lavar Ball’s apparel company, released Lonzo’s shoe to be valued at $500. To give readers some context of the situation, only NBA super stars release their own shoes, not undrafted college players. Even when NBA super stars release their shoes, they are at most $300—not $500!

We cringe at this news because Lavar Ball is making outrageous claims about his son, even though his son cannot support them. It would be more credible if Lonzo did get drafted and other basketball players credited his abilities.

In the kingdom of God, we too, cannot commend ourselves. Paul says in verse 18, “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” Though Paul has the right to commend himself, yet—despite all his accomplishments for the Lord—he does not use these things to justify his ministry. In 2 Corinthians 11:25-30 Paul says, “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in open sea… If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”

When you accomplish something for the Lord, do you boast in your abilities? Because of our sinfulness, we default to commending ourselves for preaching a good sermon or planning a great event. While God does use our abilities to co-labor with Him in His ministry, we or other people do not get to approve whether or not we did a faithful job. We are building God’s kingdom and only His approval matters.

I want to encourage you to continue to be faithful in the work that God has assigned to you in life. Take some time to examine your heart and see if you are looking to please God or man. Matthew 25:23 says, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to look to Your approval and not man’s. If there is any ministry where I am looking to please man rather than You, please reveal them to me. I want my life to be constantly reflecting Your glory, not mine. Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 8

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