REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional QT, provided by Kate Moon, was first posted on May 12, 2014. Kate continues to serve the Lord in E. Asia.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Snoop Dogg Got Nothing on God’s Word”
“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.  In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness  and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”
“So what we get drunk?
So what we smoke weed?
We’re just having fun
We don’t care who sees
So what we go out?
That’s how it’s supposed to be
Living young and wild and free”
from “Young, Wild & Free” by Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, feat. Bruno Mars
Before exploring this theme further, I feel the need to start with a disclaimer. I do not regularly listen to Snoop Dogg – I don’t pretend to be cool enough (actually, is he still cool? I’m not sure). I’d never heard of this song before I googled the phrase “young wild free” a few minutes ago. Taking a quick look at the lyrics, I had my doubts: is this something appropriate to be meditating on first thing in the morning? And yet it seemed to capture perfectly the point: that popular culture often sends the message that youth is a time to throw off all restraint, in direct opposition to the Bible’s “be self-controlled.”
The beat is catchy, the tune sticks in your mind. The opening scene of the video is pretty funny – I didn’t watch the rest. The song sold 159,000 digital copies its first week out and was nominated for Best Rap Song at the February 2013 Grammy Awards (Source: Wikipedia). How can the unpopular message of the Bible compete? Yet when the lyrics of a popular song get tested against the timeless truths of the Bible, there is no contest – truth wins out, hands down.
The truth is, isn’t getting drunk and other rebellious behavior often because people care too much about “who sees” rather than the other way around? The truth is, doesn’t all this going out stop being fun after a while, just leaving one feeling empty inside in the end? The truth is, there are alternative ways to live, and as believers, we get our “how it’s supposed to be,” not from the lyrics of a crowd-pleasing tune but from the ultimate source, the God who gave us this life and something so much more fulfilling to spend our youth on.
King Solomon, after having led a hedonistic life that Snoop Dogg can only dream about, summed up his realization this way: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth” (Eccle. 12:1). So, whether you are young or old, or somewhere in between, remember the Lord today; enjoy his grace.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I have to confess, the idea of being young, wild and free is so appealing to me. But help me to find the adventure and freedom I am looking for in You. Would You help me to experience the true freedom there is in living wisely and well? Help me to be self-controlled today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Galatians 3
Lunch Break Study
Read Galatians 5:1, 13-23: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free . . .  You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh . . .  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want . . .  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like . . .  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. . .”
Questions to Consider
- What is the calling of a believer? (vv. 1, 13, 16)
- How is self-control related to freedom? (vv. 17, 23) Why is self-control critical to ascertaining the true freedom? (1 Cor. 10:23-4)
- Is there anything from vv. 19-21 that you need to refrain from? Anything from vv. 22-23 to pursue?
- Being a Christian is about living in freedom. The believer’s freedom is about being set free from the slavery of sin. In the Holy Spirit, we have the power not to be ruled by our fleshly desires.
- Exercising self-control is exercising our freedom. This connection is critical because while “‘everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive.’”
- It is important to remember that self-control is not will-power. Will-power has our own strength as its source. Self-control is a fruit that people who have the Holy Spirit living in them will naturally bear – so be encouraged and make your best efforts, knowing that the Holy Spirit empowers you.
How did I do today in terms of yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit, allowing him to help me exercise self-control in my life?