April 15, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from April 15-21 are provided by Pastor David Son (B.S., UC Berkeley; M.Div., Gordon Conwell).  David and his team launched the Thrive Church in Taipei this past November. Stay up to date with the church plant by following them here: https://www.instagram.com/thrivechurchtaipei/

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Purpose of Rules”

Exodus 21:1

Now these are the rules that you shall set before them.

In 2012, my mom and dad became foster parents to an orphan refugee from North Korea. Prior to coming into our home, he had spent his entire life as an orphan, living on the streets of North Korea. As you might imagine, this was one of the most challenging seasons of my parents’ lives. Their primary objective? To help this child understand that he was loved by his family. Where did they begin? Well, after bringing him into the family, my parents began by setting rules. That’s right, rules!

One by one, my parents began implementing rules to help this kid understand what it looked like to live in his new identity as a child of this family—and these rules were very specific. For example:

  • Do not steal dad’s watch
  • Eat slowly/respectfully during dinner
  • Come home by 6pm after playing in the park

The purpose of each of these rules wasn’t to restrict him, but rather to transition him from his old patterns of living (stealing, hoarding food, wandering off alone) to a new mindset—the mindset of a son.

Today’s verse inaugurates a series of rules given by God to do exactly the same thing. The nation of Israel was birthed into slavery. They were spiritual orphans, with no prior knowledge of what it meant to live as children of God. So, after God redeems them and makes them His… He immediately begins to implement a set of very specific rules. The purpose of these rules? To help God’s children transition from their old patterns of living, to a new mindset—the mindset of sons/daughters of God.

Are you living in the mindset of a son/daughter of God? Perhaps there are specific patterns in your life, right now, that God wants to adjust. Let’s spend some time today reflecting on this.

Prayer: Father, we want to live in the fullness of the identity You have given us. Help us to identify the areas where we are still acting like spiritual orphans. Help us to surrender these areas to You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Romans 14


Lunch Break Study

Read Hebrews 12:5-11: And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Questions to Consider

  1. According to this passage, what does discipline from God imply?
  2. Why does God discipline us? What is the purpose?
  3. How does the author of Hebrews exhort us to respond to God’s discipline?

Notes

  1. This passage states several times that discipline from God is a feature of being His child. It implies that God loves us, and that He has our good in mind.
  2. Verse 10 says that God disciplines us because: (1) it is good for us; and (2) through discipline we can share in his holiness. In other words, the purpose of God’s discipline is so that we might develop Christ-like character within ourselves.
  3. The author of Hebrews exhorts us to take God’s discipline seriously and not to be wearied by it. Although being disciplined by God may not feel good in the moment, when we understand His purpose we can receive His discipline with joy.

Evening Reflection

Spend some time reflecting on the type of person you were before you met Jesus. What has changed since then? What has not changed since then? Are there areas that ought to have changed, but haven’t? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these areas to you as you reflect.

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