UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Yohan Lee, a friend of AMI, who in the past has served as a staff at several AMI churches, is an updated version of his blog first posted on April 16, 2014. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cairn University (MA).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Telling It Like It Is”
“Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?”
The premise of the 2009 comedy, The Invention of Lying, is that only one man has developed the ability to lie, in a world in which people can only tell the truth and generally do not suppress their thoughts. The apostle Paul didn’t have much problem telling it like it is, for he wrote Galatians 4:15 after showing how wrong the Galatian believers were for adding circumcision as a requirement for salvation, along with faith in Christ. Pulling no punches, the apostle later told them, “I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves” (Gal. 5:12). Ouch!
Jennifer Garner is no less frank when she opens the door on Ricky Gervais for a blind date, after which she immediately expresses her disappointment over his looks, but says she is still willing to complete the date out of obligation and for the free meal. Though I thought the movie was nothing spectacular and so I wouldn’t recommend it, we can learn something from it.
An underlying and implied message of this movie is that people need to lie to each other in order for our society to be civil and polite. In other words, “You can’t handle the truth!” (Sorry, I’m on a movie theme today, and I couldn’t resist.) Obviously, I don’t agree entirely with this message, but to be honest, sometimes I do not speak my mind for fear of being rude, or I don’t want to create conflicts, or I am not entirely sure how the other party will take it. I also don’t want to “become someone’s enemy by telling him (or her) the truth.”
How about you? What are the reasons you don’t “speak the truth in love” to others (Eph. 4:5)? On the flip side, how do you react when others give you truths that are sometimes painful to hear? Are you defensive, irritable, or aggressive? Or are you teachable and humbly accept criticism and rebuke well? Remember, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Prov. 27:6).
Prayer: Lord, help me this day to be truthful with myself. Help me also to be willing to speak gracefully truths that will help others, as well as to humbly accept truths about myself. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 7
Lunch Break Study
Read Eph 4:29-32: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Questions to Consider
- Concerning speech, what does Paul tell us to quit, and what does he tell us to do?
- What do you think it means to “grieve the Holy Spirit”?
- In verse 32, we are given several positive commands. Pick one to work on today. What does this mean for your life?
- We are told to stop with unwholesome talk, which could include coarse joking, profanity, complaining, gossip, and the like. We are also told to speak what is helpful for building the body, which can include teaching, rebuking, praise, prayer, encouragement, etc.
- 1 Thess. 5:19 tells us not to “quench the Spirit.” Both statements express the same idea that if we continually sin and disobey the Spirit’s promptings, his impact in our lives will lesson. In this passage, we grieve the Spirit by holding on to bitterness, rage, malice, etc.
- Personal response.
In light of today’s theme of living in the truth, how were you today? Did you speak honestly, even if it was uncomfortable to do so? If applicable, when presented with truth, did you accept it well and humbly? If you feel prompted, go ask your spouse or a close friend, “What is one thing I can change to be more like Christ?” and see how you react.