REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional is a reprint of Kate Moon’s blog originally posted on May 15, 2014. Kate continues to serve the Lord in E. Asia.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“What Gives You the Right to Speak to Me?”
“These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.”
Paul has just finished giving instructions to Titus on what he should teach to different groups in the church. His focus has been to show them how their knowledge of the gospel message should affect how they live their everyday lives. He has addressed the issues of older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves, choosing those most relevant to each group, instructing them on how to live godly, productive lives. These are the things Titus was to teach people.
As a mentor, however, Paul does not only just give the content of instruction; he also provides moral support. Paul knew the situation, the potential opposition Titus might face. The people could say, “Why should we listen to you? We have more life experience.” Or, “What do you, a man, understand about women?” Or, “As a free person, what do you know about being a slave and what we go through?” And so he encourages Titus, reminding him that he can speak with authority.
What is the nature of this authority? Many of us can relate to the difficulty the people could have had receiving Titus’ instruction. We may have less of a problem with being taught by those who are older or have relevant life experiences to speak from. But can a pastor who has never worked in the corporate world really tell us how we should handle situations in the workplace? Can a man really tell women how to be good wives and mothers? But the authority that God gives our leaders is not based on human experiences. Though neither Jesus nor Paul was married, in the Bible, it is the teachings of these two single men that set the standard of how marriage should work (Matt. 19, Eph. 5).
Let’s check our hearts today. Are we resisting any kind of instruction because we think the teacher is not qualified to speak into our lives, not because of their lack of personal character, but because they lack some experience we think they should have? If they carry God’s authority, it is our loss.
Prayer: Lord, help me to have a humble heart and not despise (= look down on, think little of) Your servants. Whether my small group leader, Bible study teacher or pastor, help me to recognize the authority You have given them and receive all that You have for me through their ministry. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 2
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Timothy 4:11-16: “Command and teach these things.  Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.  Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Questions to Consider
- What does it mean not to let others look down on us (v. 12)?
- Rather than letting others’ negative assessments of us bring us down, where should we focus our energies instead (vv. 12-14)?
- Though we avoid placing too much importance on this, in what way is a leader to care about what others think (vv. 15-16)?
- We cannot control what others think of us, but we do have control over how much we let it affect us. Sometimes we need to reject others’ evaluations of us, especially if they are unhelpful and holding us back from doing what we are called to do by God.
- Having the kind of speech, behavior, love, faith and purity that others would find exemplary, i.e., want to imitate. We should focus on doing these things rather than thinking too much about how others may not be respecting us. It may even win over those who are initially skeptical of us.
- It can be a kind of accountability. We will avoid laziness and work hard if we know people should be able to see visible progress in the developing of our gifts. Knowing that people are affected both by how we live our lives and what we teach, we conduct ourselves in these areas carefully.
Did anyone look down on me today? Did it have the power to affect me or was I able to brush it off and rise above? Did I look down on anyone else today? If so, reflect on why and ask God to deal with the related issues of your heart.