The AMI QT Devotionals from June 4-10 are written by Andy Kim. Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) currently serves as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco. And this past November, Andy got married to Jane.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! 2 Oh that I had in the desert a travelers’ lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them! For they are all adulterers, a company of treacherous men.”
In an interview with Christian missionaries, Mahatma Gandhi expressed his affections toward Christ, but also his dislike of Christians. From this interview we may have heard the phrase, “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians for your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Sadly, there are moments where I see fellow believers and I too have the same judgments of their lack of Christ-likeness. And for Jeremiah, this was the context in which he was ministering to the people of God.
Jeremiah was clearly frustrated and disappointed at the people’s lack of repentance and obedience to the Lord. On the one hand, he cannot tolerate their sinful acts, even wishing “to leave his people and be away form them” (verse 2). And on the other hand, he mourns over them for he knows judgment and destruction awaits them. Yet, he does not allow his judgments and emotions towards the people affect his love for them. He maintains a heart of compassion and love to the point where his tears are like that of a fountain. Evangelist Billy Graham once described, “Tears shed for self are tears of weakness, but tears shed for others are a sign of strength.” And these tears point us to Christ, who not only shed tears for us but to the point of shedding His blood so that we may be saved. Even in our utter sin and complete brokenness, Jesus continually cries out for us.
Yes, we should not tolerate sin; yes, we should not tolerate disobedience—but not at the cost of loving people. May we, as Jeremiah did, never lose our heart of compassion toward His people. May we never be quick to judge but always quick to love. Though our minds and emotions may be tempted to judge and criticize, may our hearts remain soft to our fellow brothers and sisters; for this is the love that was shown to us, and we ought to show others. This is the love that Gandhi failed to understand, a love that loves even the most unlovable.
Prayer: Father, I thank You for loving me even in my brokenness. Help me to love others as you have loved me. I confess my hurts and frustrations I have toward my brothers and sisters. I pray that You would help me to have a heart of compassion and a burden for Your people. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 9
Lunch Break Study
Read John 17: 20-23 (In context of Jesus praying to the Father, the high priestly prayer before the crucifixion): “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
Questions to Consider
- What is the context of Jesus’ prayer?
- What is the importance and purpose of unity?
- How does this change our relationships with one another?
- Jesus prepares to leave and He prays for the unity of believers. He defines unity in relation to the bond between the Father and the Son—that just as they are one, we are to be one with one another. Notice this unity is not something that can be achieved by our own strength, but it is given when we are in union with Him. This is how we are called to love and serve one another.
- Jesus teaches us that when we are able to have this relationship with one another, His glory is revealed to the world. Jesus explains that this relationship would be so counter-culture to the world’s standards. Only then will the world see the Father’s love and come to believe in it. What a great reminder of the power of the communion of believers!
- Personal reflection.
Henri Nouwen said, “I’m profoundly convinced that the greatest spiritual danger for our times is the separation of Jesus from the Church. The Church is the body of the Lord. Without Jesus, there can be no Church; and without the Church, we cannot stay united with Jesus. I’ve yet to meet anyone who has come closer to Jesus by forsaking the Church.” Unfortunately, the American church has often limited the Christian faith to simply their personal relationships with God. In fact, researcher Dave Olson found that only 23% of American Christians who profess their faith are actively participating in their church. May this be more than a reminder to serve our church, but to love our church as Christ did. Spend a few moments praying for our churches, even praying for a few individuals by name.