October 18, Wednesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from October 16-22 are provided by Pastor Shan Gian, who serves as the Fenway site pastor of Symphony Church in Boston. Shan, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Jenny; and they are the proud parents of their first baby Tyler.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“It seemed like a good idea at the time…”

Genesis 13:10-13

And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.  12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time…” is the start of many stories of regret. For me, every time I drive by a KFC or Popeyes, it seems like a great idea to go and get a bucket of some fried chicken; but every time I’ve done it, it’s ended up in regret because of an upset stomach or a debilitating food coma. Whether it’s making that purchase, going to that particular event, hanging out with that crowd, or dating that person, all of these things that we regret later on started off as great ideas.

I could imagine this is what Lot was thinking as he surveyed the land that was before him: His uncle Abram had offered to let him choose the land that he would settle in, so Genesis tells us that Lot “lifted his eyes.” He looked up at the Jordan Valley, and at the time, it seemed like a great idea to take the land that was green and lush and well watered, making a decision based on what his eyes were fixed on. But what was a great idea at the time ended up in disaster, as we discover later in Genesis 19. And that disaster came because while Lot’s eyes saw the lush and well watered land, they failed to notice what the people there were like: verse 13 notes that Lot’s neighbors of Sodom were wicked and great sinners.

The story of Lot is a warning for us to avoid lives of regret and to not make choices based on what our human eyes can see. Every bad decision that has ever been made seemed like a good idea at the time because every bad decision is made based on what we see with our own eyes. When we it comes to the crossroads of our lives, when there are decisions to be made—big or small—instead of trusting our own eyes or our own point of view, we need to depend on the perspective of the One who can see all.

Prayer: Jesus, help me through every decision I make today. I don’t want to look back on this day with regret, but instead, I pray that You will help me to choose to follow You and find joy in my walk with You this day. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 9


Lunch Break Study

Read Ephesians 5:15-17: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 

Questions to Consider

  1. Why should we be careful about how we walk?
  2. What does “making the best use of time” have to do with walking carefully or living with wisdom?
  3. How can we make the most of every decision in our lives with wisdom?

Notes

  1. Paul is telling us to be careful because “the days are evil.” When he says “look carefully then how you walk,” it’s a picture of walking on a dangerous path where it might be easy to slip and fall. So this exhortation to be careful how we walk is because the days are evil and it’s easy to stumble or slip if we’re not careful and intentional about how we live our lives.
  2. “Making the best use of time” can also be understood as “making the most of every opportunity.” In an economic sense, it would be like trying to maximize the amount of money we make in every sale or deal. But when it comes to our spiritual lives, it means living our lives in such a way that maximizes God’s glory and our own joy. And so when Paul is exhorting us to live with wisdom, it means that we should walk carefully and intentionally, in such a way that we don’t slip and fall but that God is glorified, and we find joy in our relationship with Him.
  3. We should do as Paul commands and look carefully how we walk, but we should also note what he says at the end of verse 17: “understand what the will of the Lord is.” In any decision we make, big or small, whether it’s what job to take or what to eat for lunch, we should seek to understand God’s will for us.

Evening Reflection

Consider some of the choices you made today. Were they wise decisions or do you regret some of them already? While we are encouraged to walk carefully with wisdom, we should not expect to walk perfectly on this side of heaven. Bring your successes and failures of today to Jesus and thank Him for his grace.

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