REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Yohan Lee, a friend of AMI, was first posted on December 17, 2013. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cairn University (MA), Yohan served as a staff at several AMI churches in the past.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Active Faith and Passive Faith”
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; 2 O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. 3 If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, therefore you are feared. 5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. 7 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. 8 He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Over the years, I have found that there are two kinds of faith. The first is an active faith that responds obediently to the Lord’s commands. Examples of people who displayed this kind of faith include Abraham, who left his home for an unknown Promised Land; Moses, who confronted Pharaoh; and Paul, who sailed the known world to share about Christ.
Closer to our time, missionaries like Hudson Taylor, Jim Elliot, and several AMI missionaries who have left promising careers to start a new in Asia come to mind. What binds them is their willingness to act decisively upon hearing God’s calling. We admire people who display this kind of faith and even want to be like them as they represent the action heroes of Christianity.
The other kind of faith, which I think is harder to develop, is a more “passive faith” that requires waiting and trusting in the Lord through desperate and lonesome circumstances. Here, we are called to surrender control. In contrast, while active faith may require us to make drastic and oftentimes uncomfortable decisions, at least we feel like we have the power to do something about our circumstances.
However, this trusting faith demands that we endure patiently. Ironically, before God called Moses to confront Pharaoh, he endured 40 years of waiting in the desert. Although Moses was an eloquent man in the past, after 40 years, he said to God, “I am slow of speech and tongue” (Ex. 4:10b), and that’s when God used him. Perhaps, the trusting faith must precede the active or action faith.
What are you waiting for? A new career? Marriage? Having children? Your parents to come to faith? A spiritual breakthrough? Do you feel helpless in this pursuit? Do you sense that God is telling you to wait on Him? This Psalm gives us insight in what it means to wait and trust in the Lord. Whatever that was going on in the Psalmist’s life, he felt that he was in the “depths” (130:1).
His commitment to wait on the Lord and hope in His Word (130:5-6) serves to guide us and encourage us as we wait on a good God. Just don’t assume that a pot of gold will be found at the end of your wait; instead, long for a heart ready to love, worship, and serve God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, how often have I treated You as the means to my own end! I need to just want You. I don’t need to wait because You are always here because You said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Thank You. Amen!
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Chronicles 28
Lunch Break Study
Read John 15:1-7: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Questions to Consider
- What does the Father do for our spiritual development?
- What do we do?
- What is Christ’s role?
- What do you think verse 7 means, particularly the later part, “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
- The Father prunes the good branches, making sure that they have optimal conditions to bear fruit. Even in distressing times, do you believe that these conditions are the optimal circumstances, orchestrated by the Father that will help you grow?
- Our responsibility is to “remain in” the vine (Christ). Our job as branches is to cling on to the vine, to seek the Lord in earnest prayer, be in His presence, and walk in obedience.
- Christ is the vine, the channel by which we receive nutrients to bear fruit. Fruit is not made instantly; it gradually grows; but during different seasons, it may grow faster. So it is with us when we stay attached to Christ. As he nurtures us, we bear fruit.
- I think Christ is confident that those who are truly connected to him will not “ask with wrong motives, that [they] may spend what [they] get on [their] pleasures” (James 4:3b). Instead, the Lord is confident that they will genuinely ask for important things that are near and dear to the heart of the Vine and Gardener (cf. 1 Jn. 5:14-5).
This morning, we looked at the importance of waiting on the Lord; ultimately, where we want to go is to a place of surrender and trust. Did you seek to remain in Christ today? Is there something you feel you are waiting on? Did you surrender it to Christ?