October 16, Friday

NEW Today’s AMI QT Devotional is written by Pastor David Son who pastors the Thrive Church in Taipei.  He is a graduate of University of California, 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

“We Have a King”

Hebrews 5:7-12

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

I received my absentee ballot in the mail this morning, and I was reminded that even though I am far from America, it’s my duty as an American citizen to submit my vote. Somewhere, deep in my consciousness there is an idea that was planted long ago through education and culture: Democracy is beautiful, and to be American is to vote! 

It is true that there is some value in democratic principles: the people get a voice, and no one person or group gets to decide what policies will guide our lives. The idea certainly sounds right to us. But how come it often feels so frustrating in practice? Especially in this election, why does voting – something that’s supposed to be so right – feel so… wrong?

It may come as a surprise, particularly to Christians of Western culture, but democracy is not in the Bible. Voting is also not in the Bible! I know, I was shocked too. The system of government in the Kingdom of God is not built on elections, or the balance of power. (If this is sounding extremely un-American to you, then you’re getting the right idea.) Instead, the Kingdom of God is exactly that, a Kingdom, in which a King rules supremely. This means whatever He says, goes. Perhaps this is difficult to understand because America has never had a king before. But under a king, obedience is not an option. To be part of this Kingdom is to obey!

This passage from Hebrews sheds light on some poignant truths. First, even Jesus, the Son of God, learned obedience. Now, when it says “learned” it doesn’t mean Jesus was disobedient and then became obedient. Rather, it means that Jesus, like us, had to actively experience full submission to the will of God the Father. Secondly, Jesus became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him. Let me make one more clarification: Our salvation is by God’s grace, not by our obedience. This is crystal clear in the Scripture. But this is also clear: having been saved, we are now living in the Kingdom of God. And this Kingdom is no democracy; there is a Good King (i.e., a benevolent dictator, if you will), and we must learn the beauty of obeying Him.

So, in this election, let us thoughtfully and prayerfully cast our vote according to our conscience. This is part of our responsibility as exiles in this country. But as Christians, we must not put our ultimate hope in democracy. The Kingdom of God does not advance through voting, but rather through the daily obedience of the children of God. I pray that these truths offer you hope and encouragement in the midst of dark and frustrating times.

Prayer: Father, give us wisdom and clarity of mind to cast a vote that is honest and consistent with our consciences. Give us hope by reminding us that Your Kingdom is advancing and will one day come in fullness. Finally, give us boldness to live day-by-day in obedience to You. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 13


Lunch Break Study

Read 2 Timothy 2:23-3:5: Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Questions to Consider

  1. According to Paul, how should we approach controversies?
  2. According to this passage, what are some characteristics of a servant of God?
  3. What kind of people does Paul warn Timothy to avoid?

Notes

  1. Paul says to “have nothing to do” with foolish and ignorant controversies. There are some controversies worth engaging, and in those we ought to be patient and gentle (v 24-25). But there are some controversies that are foolish. We ought to avoid those.
  2. As Christians, we must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone. This doesn’t mean we are passive, because Paul follows this by saying, “able to teach, patiently enduring evil, and correcting opponents with gentleness”. 
  3. Paul writes a long list of unpleasant characteristics. Unsurprisingly, it seems that all of these things are on the rise days. Social media has certainly done its part to expose and even exacerbate these sins. Paul says to “avoid such people”. But does he mean that we should cut off connection with anyone who doesn’t seem to be “put-together” in the Christian sense? Not entirely. If you continue reading this passage, Paul is talking specifically about those whose intent is to oppose God and the Truth. In other words, there are certain people who purposefully live an anti-God lifestyle and teach others to do the same. We should avoid such people. 

Evening Reflection

Have you been obeying God in your daily life? Spend a few moments reminding yourself that God is your King. Submit yourself to Him, as Jesus also did. 

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