The AMI QT devotionals for July 30-August 5 are provided by Christine Li. Christine graduated from University of Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in New York City. She attends Remnant Church in Manhattan.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Finding the Right Audience”
Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!” 12 Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. 13 Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your God. Then the Lord will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you.”
My first job out of school had me working, on few occasions, with a doctor who was a devout Jew (he read the Torah and would mention aspects of Jewish faith). Once, I felt bold to ask him for his thoughts about Jesus, since he knew I was a Christian. Right after he shared and asked for my thoughts, we got interrupted. But, I chickened out and never brought it up again the remainder of the times I worked with him. It wasn’t just that I felt foolish or unequipped to handle a discussion of Judaism and Christianity – I knew what I believed. But, I didn’t want someone who was a superior at work to find it offensive if I told him that I believe Jesus is the Messiah and the fulfillment he was looking for. I realized that even though I was a leader at church and felt equipped on this topic, I was quite cowardly about faith in the workplace. I was not bold enough to speak the truth that I believed.
In this passage, Jeremiah is sharing, for a second time, the message from the Lord. His first audience, the prophets, priests, and people, have been so put off by him that they have brought him before political officials. But even though his audience is one of greater power and authority, Jeremiah does not change his message but speaks exactly as he has been instructed. “Fear of man” has no sway on him here.
Jeremiah was no longer afraid of man’s opinion because the One whose attention really mattered was the Lord’s. Jeremiah knows who he represents; God is so much more important than these officials, and it is more important to do what honors God rather than run back in the face of these officials. So, Jeremiah conducts himself as God has commanded him to. He has no fear of others’ opinions and judgments, for he values God’s opinion most when it came to what he would do or say.
Today, we might come across a scenario where our fear of others’ opinions and judgments may sway us from being bold in the truth. Let’s ask God to remove from us the fear of man and give us a desire to honor Him first. Whether it be sharing about our faith or speaking firm truth into a friend’s life, let’s ask Him to help us speak, act, and conduct ourselves in the way that most pleases Him.
Prayer: Father, thank You that I have the honor to bear Your image and bring Your Spirit wherever I go. Help me not to be as mindful of others’ opinions or my reputation, but rather be mindful of how You want me to live and act. Free me from adjusting my actions or words even in a hostile environment, and increase my awareness that You are my ultimate audience. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 3
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 John 4:1-6: Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
Questions to Consider
- Let’s think on this litmus test of recognizing the Spirit of God. Why is it important for us to acknowledge whether Jesus Christ has come in the flesh?
- Why is it important for John to say, after recognizing whether a Spirit is from God, that the children of God have overcome?
- John says that some will listen but some will not—how can this be an encouragement to us?
- This statement captures a basic doctrine about God coming in the flesh—this opposes a heresy that questions Christ’s Incarnation. However, affirming that Christ came in the flesh is not just about knowing basic doctrine but also recognizing the life and work of Christ: He dwelled among us, died for our sins, was raised up to life, and has ascended into Heaven as our living hope. The Spirit of God will also always acknowledge His redemptive kingdom work.
- The Spirit that is from God is the one of power—because God reigns over all the earth, He also overcomes Satan. Children of God partake in His victory over the world; therefore, they have nothing to fear as they live as witnesses.
- If we know that we are in-line with God’s Spirit and that those who belong to God will be drawn to a message of truth, we can feel free when sent out to evangelize and witness. The burden of outcome does not rest on our abilities to speak but rather rests wholly on His Spirit; we are just mouthpieces. Let’s let this truth free us up to boldly proclaim what we know to be true.
Let’s think upon how we can demonstrate our life and faith to others. It may not be direct evangelism— it could be forgiveness, personal integrity, kindness, etc. Pray over it and ask God to help you to be His witness in a world that desperately needs Him.