July 14, Friday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional is written by Pastor Phillip Chen of Church of Southland.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

Luke 4:1-2 (ESV)

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.

After He was baptized, three of the four Gospel writers point out that Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, was led into the wilderness for forty days. As I was reading the passage this time around, it dawned on me that according to conventional human wisdom, the moment right after the baptism would have been most ideal for public ministry. Think about it: when Jesus was baptized by John, the heavens opened up and the visible presence of the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. This was no secluded matter, as many had come to be baptized by John in the Jordan River. How could you not believe someone if you saw the very presence of the Holy Spirit fall upon Him, not to mention hearing an audible voice saying, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased”? If I were Jesus’ PR manager, I would have told Him to start His ministry now.

But for some reason, the Holy Spirit leads Him into the wilderness, where He is utterly alone (aside from the devil who is tempting Him). Why does the Spirit lead Him away from the public eye at the most opportune time to minister? When we read what happens next, we realize the importance of the wilderness experience in this passage. Jesus must overcome the private battles before He conquers the public sphere. Jesus was a man just like us and was tempted constantly, but in the following passage (Luke 4:3-13), Jesus overcomes His private battles.

In Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he points out that private victories must always precede public victories. We want the world to know our public victories before we conquer our temptations privately. We want the recognition before we have harnessed our character; we desire fruitfulness before we have even put in all of the work. Today, let’s be reminded not to short-change the wilderness stage of our lives. Let’s work hard to win our private battles so that we can win our public ones. I have come to learn from our senior pastor that this period of waiting and development is a season of grace which the Lord gives us, so that we are ready for the greater assignments He has for us later on. Being hidden is not a curse, but a blessing. Let’s focus on the private matters of our lives (our devotion to God, our habits, our work ethics, and many more) so that we can be fruitful Kingdom-minded workers for the Lord!

Prayer: Lord, help us in our private battles so that we may be people who overcome the temptations of life. Thank You for the ways that You hide us and shield us.  We ask that You continue to work in our lives so that we may be effective Kingdom servants! Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 12


Lunch Break Study

Read Colossians 3:22-24 (ESV):

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 

Question to Consider

  1. What does Paul say about work ethic?
  2. What is our inheritance that Paul talks about?
  3. What are some ways we need to commit your work to the Lord?

Notes

  1. Paul is talking to those that are bondservants, but this applies to us as well. Whatever we do, we are to do with all of our heart, believing that even if our work has absolutely nothing to do with the church, we must still view it as belonging to God. The way we go about our work is an indication of our heart’s tenderness towards the Lord.
  2. Paul talks about the reward for which we are striving. I believe this is not salvation, but rather a reward given to those who are faithful and diligent in the ways they serve the Lord. We may glorify those in vocational ministry and see their future rewards as great, but if we are faithful and diligent in how we conduct our lives for Him, we will certainly be rewarded greatly as well!
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

Tonight, as you reflect on your day, commit your work to the Lord. Pray for the next day, that it will be filled with joy and purpose as you go about your lives in a way that is honoring to God. Pray that God would make you a man/woman of substance and that at the proper time He will lift you up (1 Peter 5:6).

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