REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Cami King who serves as associate pastor at Remnant Church in Manhattan, was first posted on September 4, 2014. Cami is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.). She was recently licensed by AMI. Congratulations.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Serving the True Master”
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Jesus once taught that a man cannot serve two masters. While he was referring to God and money, the principle is relevant here as well. Paul was facing great opposition from false teachers who taught things contrary to what Paul had taught, spreading their message by discrediting Paul. Because Paul’s gospel message did not require Gentiles to convert to Judaism (a religion enmeshed in ethnic identity), only to believe in the person and work of Christ (a spiritual identity), some Jewish Christians charged him with people-pleasing (that is, telling the Gentiles only what they wanted to hear to be more popular among them).
But Paul remained true to the message he had been given, regardless of who received or rejected him. He was concerned neither with pleasing the Gentiles (gaining popularity through a watered-down message), nor with pleasing the Jews (gaining popularity through a strict/works-based message). His only concern was pleasing God (honoring the message that Christ had given him).
People-pleasing is a condition common to man – to some of us more than others. All of us, at some point or another, find ourselves longing for the approval of those around us and wanting the affirmation of the masses. We filter our words and actions, package and repackage ourselves to be more palatable and to feel accepted. Furthermore, even for those among us who are less concerned with what others think, we are all very much concerned with pleasing ourselves.
But we cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve both God and the people around us. We cannot serve both God and ourselves. If we allow ourselves to be ruled by the opinions of others, that is the master we serve. If we allow ourselves to be ruled by our own thoughts and desires, then we are our own masters.
As believers, we are called to serve the Lord only, but that isn’t always easy. Sometimes we will be rejected by others. Sometimes we will have to go against our own desires. But in the end we know that God is a loving master and serving Him will lead us into freedom and abundant life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please free me from my tendency toward people-pleasing and self-gratification. Make me aware of the other masters in my life today. Help me to serve You even when it is difficult. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Chronicles 29
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 6:19-24 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Questions to Consider
- What is the nature of earthly and heavenly treasures?
- Why is it so important that we reign in our desires and align them with the things of God (vs. 22-23)?
- Why does Jesus say it’s impossible to serve two masters?
- Earthly treasure is fleeting; it is susceptible to theft and decay. Heavenly treasure is enduring; it cannot be stolen nor will it decay.
- What we desire affects our whole being. Therefore, if we desire the things of this world, we will pursue and achieve just that (and that’s what will fill us). But if we desire the things of God, we will pursue and receive (and be filled with) those things instead.
- In every action we choose an allegiance. If it is to the one master (ourselves/other people/success/riches/etc.), then in that action, we’ve failed to serve the other master, namely God. But if we choose to serve God, we are set free from all those other masters (and are truly free!).
What are some of the other masters in your life? Who are the people you long to please, whose approval and affirmation you strive to achieve? Spend some time submitting those areas to God. Ask Him to show you practical ways you can serve Him instead.