April 4, Saturday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor).

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Be Spiritually Smart”

Matt. 14:22-26

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.

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At times, we are so full of ourselves that we cannot see what’s really in our hearts.  Our growing accomplishments and burgeoning bank accounts have gone to our heads; we really think we are something to behold.  Yuck!  And that’s one reason God “tests our hearts” (1 Thess. 2:4).

When Jesus, before feeding the 5,000, tested Philip (“He only asked this to test him”), asking, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat,” the Lord “already had in mind what he was going to do” (Jn. 6:6).  Then why test him?  One reason: Jesus gave his man a chance to see for himself what was truly in his heart. In this case, Philip’s answer that showed his lack of faith (“Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite”—Jn. 6:7) revealed that he wasn’t all that great!

What does this all mean?  What Jesus saw in his disciples were men who could do nothing apart from him (Jn. 15:5).  In contrast, his men, often “argu[ing] about who was greatest” (Mk. 9:34), saw things differently! So confident of their own abilities, one day, two of them, John and James, made a stunning request to Jesus: “We want you to do for us whatever we ask . . . Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory” (Mk. 10:35, 37).  Yes, something had to be done to let the air out of their swelled head.   

So, one day, Jesus let his men row a boat in high winds, without him, into the wee hours of the night. The result?  These veteran fishermen behaved like children, crying out in fear when they mistook Jesus walking on water as a ghost.  And after rowing for about 7-8 hours, they covered only about 3.5 miles (Jn. 6:19). In this way Jesus showed them that they weren’t all that great. But once the Lord, after having calmed the storm and assured the disciples (“It is I. Don’t be afraid”—Mk. 6:50), entered the boat, it “immediately reached the shore where they were heading” (Jn. 6:21).  To put it differently, without Jesus, the disciples, whose favorite pastime was arguing about who was the greatest, were stuck and going nowhere fast; with Him on board they quickly reached their destination.

Of course, it is because we are often oblivious to our own pride and self-sufficiency that God stirs up storms in our lives (a.k.a., test) to get us to see what’s really lurking in our hearts.  At the very least, COVID-19, a tsunami of our lives, should be serving that purpose for all of us.  So let us be spiritually smart by humbling ourselves before the Lord—Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10)—and reach our “destination” promptly.

Prayer: Dear God, open wide my dull eyes so I can see the true condition of my heart.  Help me to renounce arrogance and self-sufficiency; empower me, instead, to cling unto You and rely on the sufficiency of Christ.  Amen.   

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 3-4

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