Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Ryun Chang who serves as AMI Teaching Pastor, was originally posted on January 11, 2013.
Devotional Thought for Today
“To Blame Me or Others—That’s the Question”
O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. 2 Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. 3 My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?
Many experts in our culture are eager to excuse our shameful behaviors by placing the blame on anybody or anything except the self. Even more popular method is simply torelabel unacceptable behaviors to mean something quite different. “According to the San Francisco Chronicle, . . . a juvenile ‘delinquent’ will now be called . . . a ‘young person impacted by the juvenile justice system’ and drug addicts . . . will become ‘a person with a history of substance use.’”
David wasn’t having any of that; instead of clinging to his “manufactured” righteousness, he chose to “fall into the hands of the LORD, for His mercy is great” (2 Sam. 23:14). Thus, when confronted with his past sins, he confessed, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil is your sight” (Ps. 51:3-4). There is neither “blaming others” nor “relabeling sins” here; there is only taking the responsibility for one’s own action.
In view of this, when things go wrong in your life, how do you usually respond? Is it hard to admit that you are responsible? What do you think God wants to tell you at that moment? Only those who believe that God is merciful, who doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve (Ps. 103:10), will opt to fall into His hands. The admission of our faults and sins is the first step here. Reflect on this point and ask God for courage.
Prayer: Dear God, I admit that I would rather blame others than myself when things go wrong. Perhaps I’m afraid. Give me the courage and discernment to take responsibility for my actions while leaning on You to receive mercy and to find grace.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 4
Lunch Break Study
Context: The writer of Hebrews wrote this to warn those Jewish believers who were tempted to return to sacrificing animals. Theologically, this was tantamount to salvation by works, which directly opposed the basis of the New Covenant (grace through faith).
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. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 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? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 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? 10 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. 11 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
- Why is it foolish to question God’s love for us when we are disciplined by Him (Heb. 12:5-11)?
- Why does God discipline us2 (Heb. 12:19, 14)? Consider also why Hebrews was written.
- What are some general ways in which God disciplines us3 (e.g., Acts 15:36-9; 1 Cor. 11:27-30)?
- Upon seeing two kids doing something wrong, the father of one of them will correct his child first; if he chooses to speak to the other child at all, it will likely be toned down. Why? The father loves his son and wants to see him succeed in life.
- First, God desires to see us develop into people who don’t repeat the same mistakes that rob us of a righteous (not legalistic but right living) and peaceful life (avoiding a life full of guilt, shame and regrets). Second, God disciplines us, particularly the leaders, so that our incorrect thinking and bad conduct do not affect others. This portion of Hebrews shows how serious God was about not allowing the corruption of the gospel by those who returned to human works for justification (Gal. 2:21).
- Though Paul may have been harsh here, this was one rebuke the young Mark needed before becoming helpful in ministry (2 Tim. 4:11). Thus, God uses people in spiritual authority to correct us. Also, we can’t rule out infirmities, failed projects, or closed doors as God’s means to discipline us
Sometimes we miss obvious signs and just “drive on.” Reflect on what’s going on in your life at the moment. Could it be that what’s going on in your life is God’s way of disciplining you so that you may share in his holiness? Would review your day here and jot down some thoughts you had about God’s discipline in view of your present circumstances.