The AMI QT Devotionals from July 3-8 are written by Andy Kim. Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University, has recently completed his M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is currently serving as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco (and also soon to be married 😊).
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
“Finding your Brand . . . in Him”
And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
We live in a world driven by branding. In fact, business experts show us that NIKE has taken the lead in the sports industry because of their branding strategy—spending over $1 billion a year in advertising alone. From the mundane, such as what we wear, to the more significant, such as where we work, it’s all about the name. It’s amazing how a small piece of accessory with the word NIKE on it can be priced 10x higher than a non-name brand, even though it is pretty much the same thing! Even more importantly, it’s so easy for us to tie our identity to the name of the school we graduate from or the company we work for. In fact, experts emphasize the importance of “finding your brand” and “selling/marketing yourself ” as the way to success. Now, striving for such things is not bad in and of itself; however, when we allow these things to claim our identity, we become subject to the very products of this world.
In this passage, whether literal or not, the writer makes it clear that in the end we will all be accountable to a name. That name can either have your name on it or something else in the world; but only those who are marked by His Name will be able to partake in the celebration before the throne of Heaven. Commentator Mounce writes, “When judgment comes there will be no room for ambiguity; people will have by their mark declared their master.” There is no room for negotiation in this matter. May we never find our identity in names of this world, but remember that we are forever branded and marked by Jesus Christ. For only in this name do we find true salvation and redemption for eternity. This is good news because this is the one name that cannot be earned, but can only be given by His grace. While this world continues to be enslaved to the needs of this world, we are freed by the Name above all names, sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
With that we have been given the responsibility of carrying that Name in a manner that is worthy. Charles Spurgeon challenges the church to “not come and take His name and then dishonor His Character.” In other words, taking upon the name of Jesus comes with the responsibility of following in His character. As we start this morning, ask yourself this: What do I want to be known for? What would the people around me say about me and my branding?
Prayer: Lord, may we find our identity in the one name above all names—the name of Jesus. We confess that many times we associate ourselves more with this world and lose ourselves to the needs of this world. Father, may our lives reflect Your character so that others may see we are of You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Deuteronomy 8:1-5: “The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.
Questions to Consider
- Why does God humble us?
- Why is humility good for us?
- What are the areas in your heart that you cannot let go and trust Him in?
- Humility is not something that we can artificially produce, but it comes from the Lord. To be humble is to obey the Lord. Many times we allow external circumstances to harden our hearts that deter us from His will. God will use circumstances to humble our hearts so that we will not forget it is God who leads us and provides for us.
- Humility teaches us to remember to not trust in our own abilities or even what the world offers (the daily bread); rather, we are to remember that it is God who provides for us, even our daily needs. God humbles us out of discipline (verse 5), and we know that in Hebrews 12:6 that God disciplines the ones He love. Humility stems from His love for us.
- Personal response.
Humility can be difficult and can be so easily confused with a false humility. Remember, humility is not necessarily about the external appearance but the internal attitude of your heart. It is the full surrender and acknowledgement of our own weaknesses while having a full understanding of His sufficiency. May we trust in His provision, believing that He truly has the best in mind for us. Spend some time reflecting on the areas in your life where God is teaching you about humility.