Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Mei Lan Thallman who serves at Grace Covenant Church (Philadelphia), was originally posted on August 13, 2014.
Devotional Thought for Today
“The Harder the Journey Gets, the Firmer Our True Identity Must Be”
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
The end goal of our Christian life is so much more than making it to heaven. Certainly, the moment we receive Jesus Christ into our heart as our Savior and Lord, our position in heaven is eternally secure, but it is also the beginning of a lifelong earthly journey of transformation (“extreme makeover” of our heart, mind, attitudes, priorities, etc.) to become more like Christ.
Being a Christian does not guarantee a life of smooth sailing, free of all problems, but in some ways, it actually makes life more complicated. No longer are we living to please ourselves according to the old worldly values; but rather, we are learning to please God by reorienting our lives according to his truth in all areas of our lives. This process, no doubt, requires many changes or realignments on our part.
For the Israelites, this meant leaving the old way of life in Egypt as well as their old way of thinking. But upon seeing the Egyptian army coming after them, they gave in to fear which quickly turned into a lie: “It would have been better to remain as slaves to the Egyptians than to die in the desert.” So what’s the antidote for fear? Moses commanded them to stand firmly in the truth. When our identity is firmly placed upon God’s truth, our faith is strengthened while fears begin to melt away. Through His truth, we are reminded of God’s unconditional love for us, and that we are not created to be slaves or orphans but as God’s beloved sons and daughters in Christ. And nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35).
The enemy will try to lie to us through fear, reminding us of our broken and shameful past. Thus, we must learn to stand firm in our identity in Christ and be ready to fight back the lies by imitating what Jesus did when he was attacked by the adversary: with the truth found in God’s word (“It is written . . .”). When we do, we will see and experience the deliverance of the Lord just as the Israelites did.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for being my Savior, Redeemer and Lord. Thank you that I am saved to participate and partner with you in the ongoing redemptive work of the Father. Empower me to keep standing firm in faith and in your truth.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 23
Lunch Break Study
Read Matt. 4:2-11 (ESV): And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Questions to Consider
- As a strategy to tempt Jesus, what was the devil trying to get Jesus to doubt?
- What was the consistent approach taken by Jesus to counter the devil’s lies?
- What is so alluring about lies? Are there any lies that are alluring you right now?
- The devil tried to get Jesus to doubt his Sonship. The first two temptations are prefaced by, “If you are the Son of God,” which shows that the enemy was trying to rattle the identity of Jesus.
- The Lord consistently reached back to the Scriptures, countering the lies of the devil with the truths found in God’s word. He didn’t need to look them up since he had memorized them.
- There are immediate benefits: a full stomach, accolades from the crowd, material prosperity, etc. Had Jesus given in to the devil, he might have gotten all these things, but he would have immediately become his slave. For some of you, you may be tempted to take a better job, even though that new position is going to wipe out any time to worship and serve God.
As you conclude this day, did anything happen today that made you question who you are in Christ? Claim your heritage in Christ, declaring that you are a beloved and cherished son/daughter of God. Pray.