The AMI QT Devotionals July 17-23 are written by David Son, who serves as the college pastor at Symphony Church in Boston. David, a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.S.) and Gordon-Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace who teaches at a public school.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
The Most Powerful Encouragement
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
A little while ago, I was gifted an Amazon Echo named Alexa. One of the most interesting features of this device is the “Casual Compliment Machine.” Basically when you enable this feature, you can call upon Alexa to spew all sorts of kind words to you. I haven’t tried this feature out yet, but I don’t doubt that aside from the initial hilarity, it could marginally increase my self-esteem.
There is, however, a source of encouragement that is at least a hundred times more potent than a kind word from Alexa: encouragement which comes from another person. One word of encouragement from another human being is worth at least a hundred self-initiated encouragements, wouldn’t you agree?
But there’s more. Even stronger than encouragement given to you by another, is encouragement that you overhear! The feeling you get when you happen to be within earshot of a conversation in which you are being positively affirmed is sublime. To know that other people genuinely approve of you is something that most (if not all) of us sincerely desire. So powerful are overheard encouragements that they even have the power to sculpt our view of ourselves, permanently!
But there is one final source of encouragement, one that is infinitely more potent than even those you overhear! And that is when God Himself says to us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” As Christians, we do not live to be approved by people. Although approval and encouragements from others are definitely blessings, they are not what we are living for. We live to please our Lord! The incredible thing is that in Christ, God has already approved us, and He has already spoken acceptance over us! Today, open your heart to allow that powerful truth to shape the way you live.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that in Christ I am already approved by You. Let the work of my hands, feet, mouth, and mind be done in light of this truth: that I am Your child. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 16
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 8:1-5: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
Questions to Consider
- According to this passage, what kind(s) of people are free from condemnation?
- How did God accomplish what we could not do?
- Having been set free from the condemnation of the law, how are we to now live?
- According to this passage, those who are “in Christ Jesus” are set free from the law of sin and death, and there is no longer condemnation.
- The problem was that we could not live up to God’s righteous standard as described by the law. Therefore, having fallen short of God’s standard, everyone was under condemnation. God’s solution was to send his own Son in the flesh under the law, to fulfill on our behalf all the requirements of the law, and take upon Himself all the condemnation that ought to have been on us. Consequently, we have been set free from the condemning requirements of the law!
- The passage instructs us to walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Paul then elaborates on this by explaining that “those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” “Things of the flesh” could mean worldly pleasures/temptations, but it also encompasses worldly accomplishments/merits as a means of validating our worth. Those who are in Christ should not chase after these things, even if our society does. Our minds should be fixed on the Kingdom of God.
This evening, spend some time receiving God’s love for you. Whether your day was full of accomplishments, or loaded with failures, or even if you just felt numb to it all, you do not live for the approval of man, but for God. The good news is that He has already spoken approval over you. As you reflect on your day, speak God’s approval over your own heart.