The AMI QT Blogs from June 5-11 are provided by Tina Hsu. Tina, a graduate of Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.) has just returned from E. Asia, where she served as a missionary for two years. Currently, she serves at Church of Southland and Kairos International University.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
“God’s Reward for the Faithful”
“But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him heart what the Spirit says to the churches.”
One way that my family lavishes me with love is through gifts. They buy me good gifts, such as name brand handbags and nice jewelry. However, I have resolved that it is not worth it for them to gift me in this way because I am terrible at keeping nice accessories free from stains, blemishes, and tears. In my eyes, I am not worthy of such valuable products because I don’t go out of my way to steward them well. Today’s devotional talks about stewarding a much greater gift, our spiritual identity in Christ.
The Spirit is commending a few people of the church at Sardis for their faithfulness in remaining holy to the Lord. They have not “soiled their garments,” meaning they have not joined themselves to the fleshly pursuits of the world after having been united with Christ. Because their eternal walk with the Lord is of utmost value to them, they have remained pure—stewarding their relationship with God in an honorable way.
The imagery of the garment represents a person’s spiritual state. Prior to faith, every person figuratively wears “filthy garments,” which refers to life ruled by darkness and sin. When the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us fully, God places the righteousness of Christ upon us. Thus, we become newly clothed with a pure garment, representing our new identity in Christ.
The majority of believers in Sardis had “soiled their garments” by returning to an ungodly lifestyle, while clothed with religiosity. The Spirit now points to these people to call them back. He is giving everyone a call to repent and says, “He who overcomes” will again be clothed in white and will have full fellowship in God’s presence in this life and the life to come.
The garment of Christ’s righteousness is God’s most valuable gift to us. By His grace and love, He considered us worthy to receive this undeserving gift. How will we in return wear our garments in a manner worthy of God’s honor? How will we remain pure and unblemished so that we are ready to walk in white when the Lord returns?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for the gift of new life. Thank You that You have clothed me with Your righteousness. Lord, the battle to remain holy and faithful is beyond my own strength and ability. I pray that You will grant me the strength to be an overcomer. Help me to increase in my love, adoration, and obedience to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 34
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I ever knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
Questions to Consider
- What is Jesus’ warning to those who claim to be His disciples?
- According to Jesus, how will some people assume that they are in good standing with the Lord?
- How does this passage encourage you to examine your walk with the Lord?
- Everyone in Jesus’ audience at that time were among those who heard His teachings. Jesus is saying only those who hear His teachings and do them will enter the kingdom of heaven. Merely hearing does not reflect a genuine Master-follower relationship. Verse 21 is parallel to the parable right after this passage: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Mt. 7:24).
- Some people will believe that their religious acts and powers performed in Jesus’ name equate to their position in the kingdom of God. This does not necessarily mean they are in relationship with Jesus and actively doing the will of the Father.
- Personal response.
Philippians 1:27: “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…”
Our manner of life is a testimony of our faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s reflect on how we can honor God in our lives this week.