REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor David Son, was first posted on September 19, 2014. David pastors Thrive Church in Taipei. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley (BA) and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Stay up to date with the church plant by following them here: https://www.instagram.com/thrivechurchtaipei/
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“One Complement that Tops Them All”
Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (ESV)
Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.
Some experts say that looking in the mirror and complimenting yourself actually helps to build your self-esteem. As silly as it seems, telling yourself, “You’re awesome!” has a real effect on how you feel, at least temporarily.
However, there is a compliment that is 1,000 times better than a self-compliment. When someone else tells you, “Wow, you’re awesome!” then that has an effect that is worth more than 1,000 mirror gazing self-compliments. Don’t you agree?
But going even further, there is a type of compliment that is 10 times more potent than when someone else compliments you. It’s when you overhear someone complimenting you (sort of like the opposite of what Solomon says in today’s passage). Imagine walking down a hallway, and two people are talking about you. They don’t know you’re listening, but you hear them say, “Seriously, [your name] is so awesome!” The power of an overheard compliment is incredible in lifting you up and encouraging your spirit.
But there is still one more type of compliment that outruns all of the above by a mile. It is when you stand before the Lord God Almighty, your Creator and Redeemer, and He says to you, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
The words of man have the power to lift us up or bring us down. We have been on both the giving and receiving ends of this broken system. The Bible has much to say about our words and the power of words. But above all words of man, the most potent words come from the mouth of God. Let us tune our ears and take to heart the words of God; and then encourage someone, who is facing a difficult situation, with the very words through which God blessed you today.
Prayer: Lord, give me strength, and an ear turned to heaven, to find my approval in You and You alone. Today, whatever work I put my hands to, whatever words I speak, whatever thoughts I think, may they be pleasing to You. Thank you for your steadfast love towards me.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 6
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 23:5-7: They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.
Questions to Consider
- Here, Jesus is speaking about the Pharisees and scribes. What is His problem with them?
- Whose approval are the Pharisees seeking?
- Whose approval is Jesus seeking?
- Whose approval are you seeking?
- Phylacteries were bags worn by rabbis, which contained excerpts from the Torah (Pentateuch). Phylacteries were worn during prayer, and a broad phylactery would indicate that the person wearing it was a man devoted to prayer. Being devoted to prayer is obviously not the reason Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees. Jesus was speaking out against the appearance of devotion to prayer, in order to win the approval of man.
- The Pharisees were seeking recognition and approval from people.
- Jesus, we know, did only what He saw God the Father doing (John 5). Jesus’ teachings are the antithesis of the Pharisees’ attitude. He teaches us to do our good deeds in secret, for the approval of God, and not man (Matthew 6). Instead of taking the place of honor, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet (John 13).
- Personal response
Before Jesus began his ministry, before He preached a single sermon, before He performed a single miracle, before He finished His mission on the cross, God said regarding Him, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” In Christ, we are also pre-approved. Before you wake up each morning and take that first step out of bed, God has already put His stamp of approval on you because you have been clothed with Christ. Let’s take these words to heart!