August 30, Wednesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from August 28-September 3 are provided by Hee Jung Lee. Hee Jung, a graduate of Biblical Theological Seminary, serves at Catalyst Agape Church (New Jersey) along with her husband Pastor Sam Lee. They have four beautiful daughters.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

You First

Ephesians 5:21

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

About eleven years ago at which time my husband and I were pastoring a different church, we had various missionaries and ministers from around the world come through our church. Those were equipping years and I learned so much during that season. I learned not necessarily intellectual or theological things, but what “the culture of God’s Kingdom” really looks like.

One key thing I observed was the importance of honor. A lot of these people had incredible stories of amazing things they had seen God do, and as such, they brought an air of authority. Yet, one common characteristic I noticed about them was that they knew how to honor others, especially those engaged in the advancement of the gospel. They were reverent toward others; they elevated others above themselves; and they understood the importance of submitting to those whom God had placed as authority above them. This “consider[ing] others better than yourselves” (Phi. 2:3), to the point of submitting to them, was ultimately honoring God, as the apostle Paul says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

There is beauty in a culture that is built on the heart of submission in which brothers and sisters honor one another. Hearts are enlarged for God in such an atmosphere and there is harmony. So, every time we speak generously of others rather than fault-finding, elevate others above ourselves rather than competing to win, we cultivate an atmosphere of honor. As one pastor put it, honor is a royal attribute of who we are as citizens of heaven. This means that we regard and think of others more highly than ourselves.

There is, however, another component to honoring. We are to also abide respectfully of the institutions/authorities that have been placed above us. Our citizenship in heaven (Phil. 3:20) does not equate to defying what is required of us as citizens here on earth. We respect the authorities and laws that “have been established by God” (Rom. 13:1) for the common good as well as for the sake of Christ; thus, we pray for our leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-2) rather than criticizing them. This, then, allows us to be model citizens (i.e., a city on a hill—Mt. 5:14), and as God’s people whose lifestyle bestows respect and honor, we are kept blameless and pure in a society that needs the light of Jesus to guide its path. Something to think about in our deeply divided nation.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank You for such a great privilege as Your daughter and a royal citizen of Your kingdom. Thank You that every time I honor another and respect the authorities You have placed above me, it advances Your purpose and sustains the culture by which we are called to live. I pray let Your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Bible Reading for today: Isaiah 19


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

Questions to consider

  1. How is God speaking to you personally about honor today?
  2. What is one thing you can do to honor another person in your life who has been difficult for you to like, much less honor?
  3. What are some things you could be praying over the President and leaders in our government?

Notes:

  1. If you have trouble honoring others, what may be lying deep down in your heart that is blocking your ability to do so? You may have been hurt by someone in authority, abused while growing up, etc. Ask the Lord to show you any blocks, vows, or determinations (e.g., “I will never . . .”) that you may have made that keeps your heart from honoring.
  2. Sometimes the first step to honoring someone with whom you have had difficulty is forgiving that person. Speak out prayers of forgiveness; let go the grudge you have been holding against that individual in Jesus’ name. This will begin to release you from the attitude of resentment and bitterness (a.k.a., ungodly soul ties) that always cripples the desire and ability to honor those whom we dislike for whatever reasons.
  3. Read over 1 Timothy 2:1-2 and Romans 13:1.

Evening Reflection

In light of what we meditated on this morning, how did you fare in terms of honoring others and your authorities today? Remember Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

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