UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by the then (2013) staff of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, is an updated version of their blog first posted on July 11, 2013.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Don’t Cancel People”
No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. 7 It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. 8 In the hand of the Lord is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs. 9 As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob, 10 who says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”
Whether it’s a child enforcing the rules of a made-up game or an adult complaining about their rights, we all fancy ourselves to be judges—authorities on good and evil in the world. And we are seeing plenty of that—canceling the person who deemed lagging in virtue signaling—in our society these days. But no one from the east or the west is judge. That role is for God alone, as the apostle Paul states: “It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart…” (1 Cor. 4:4b-5a).
This does not mean that Christians are called to make no evaluations of anything but that the task of bringing punishment belongs to God alone. We subtly punish those we deem deserving by withholding forgiveness, with passive-aggressiveness, gossiping, or cancelling them among other things, but we have no right to do so.
It is God’s prerogative to punish the wicked, and He is sure to do it. In the meantime, we ought to be sobered by the thought that every sin is paid for either by Christ on the cross, or by each individual in hell.
Take a moment to thank God that He has paid for your sins and given you life when you deserved death. In light of God’s forgiveness, pray that you would release your “right” to judge those who sin against you today.
Prayer: Holy Father, You are God and I am not. My wisdom and understanding is so limited. My sense of justice is marred by my sins and self-centeredness. I thank you that you are just and therefore I am free to forgive. Thank you for paying for my sins and for the sins of every brother and sister. May more and more people find grace and rejoice in your work on the cross. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 6
Lunch Break Study
Read James 2:5-9 (NIV): Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
Questions to Consider
- What possible advantage might those who are poor in the eyes of the world have over the rich?
- How were the rich actually treating those in the church at times?
- Is there a way you can practically love someone who might be considered poor in the eyes of the world?
- The poor may actually be rich in faith and in the inheritance of God’s kingdom. Let us not misunderstand what James is saying; A person is not automatically saved because he or she is poor materially. All who are saved—poor or rich—are saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ. But God has generally saved more poor people than rich (Luke 18:24–25; 1 Cor. 1:26–29), for the poor are generally richer in faith. Why? Because, since they have no other wealth to rely on, they prize more the wealth they have in Christ.
- By insulting the poor, the church has favored the wealthy. But it is the rich outside the church who are their oppressors. This picks up on an OT theme of the rich oppressing the poor (Jer. 7:6; 22:3; Amos 4:1; 8:4), which is precisely what was going on in James’ day. Moreover, the rich dragged Christians into court, knowing that the secular courts would be favorable to them, for no one liked Christians. To add insult to injury, they were slandering the noble name which had been named over the believers at their baptism; such were the rich. Yet the Christians were becoming like them when they discriminated against the poor in their own gatherings. The Christians had become the persecutors.
- Personal response
Journal about what it means to cultivate a childlike faith in your personal life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I ask that you shape me to be one who is compassionate to the poor. Amen.