Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Barry Kang of Symphony Church in Boston, was originally posted on March 12, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Abiding in Him Amid Darkness”
1 John 2:24-29 (ESV)
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
One of the ways that God motivated me to plant a campus-focused church in Boston was becoming aware of the statistics that more Christians fall away from faith during their college years, than any other time of life. This statistics may or may not be true today, but a fall from faith is tragic, whenever it may happen! Our faith is often under attack whether by circumstances, temptations, persecutions or even false teachings. The Apostle John tells us that he writes with this concern in mind: “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.” (v.27). So how can we maintain and grow our faith? Should we go to seminary and accumulate more knowledge? Serve more? Surround ourselves with Christians who can encourage us? Or go on a mission trip? John’s advice might surprise us.
His primary advice for those of us fighting for our faith (which includes all of us to a varying degree) is this: that we abide in what we already know! The word “abide” is the same word that Jesus uses in John 15:4 when he says, “Abide in me.” We are to abide (remain or dwell) in Jesus and the great truths that we have been aware of from the start of our Christian experience. Our faith will be sustained, not by new knowledge, new experiences or new ways to think about God and the world; but by continually and persistently dwelling and remaining in Jesus and the truth that he is the Messiah, the Son of God, crucified but resurrected so that we might also live!
One of my professors once told me, “Don’t forget in the dark that that which you heard in the light.” This is great advice amid the corona virus pandemic—with all the fears and uncertainties it has brought—that has radically changed the life as we have known (for the time being). So, how will you remain in the light during this dark moment? May God have mercy on all of us; may we abide in Him with all of our hearts.
Prayer: Father, I want to abide in Jesus. There are many forces that pull me away. Some of them are very tempting to follow, but help me to persist in remaining in Jesus. Thank you for promising that you won’t let me go. Help me to grow, not just in new knowledge, but deeper in the knowledge that I already have. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 49
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 18:1-8: And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? zWill he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Questions to Consider
- Why does Jesus tell this parable (v.1)? What is Jesus looking for when He returns (v.8)?
- Is God being compared or contrasted with this judge?
- What does the parable teach us about prayer?
- How does this passage give us deeper insight to 1 John 2:24-28 (the morning devotion)?
- Jesus tells this parable in order that we would always pray and (thereby) not lose heart. In this context, it appears that on his return, Jesus will be looking for people who are praying (i.e. faith on earth).
- It would be a mistake to think that this judge is like God (i.e. a simile); rather, Jesus is contrasting the judge’s behavior to God’s behavior. If the judge, who is unlike God, hears and answers the woman’s call for justice, how much more will God hear and answer us?
- Persistence is important in prayer: God hears those who “cry to him day and night.”
- A crucial aspect of abiding in Jesus is to spend time praying. Prayer indicates and develops trust in God and dependence upon Him. If we want to abide in Jesus, then we need to spend time praying!
Spend some time praying and reflecting upon the truths of Jesus you already know. Journal and pray over these truths!