REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional Quiet Time, provided by Christine Li, was first posted on August 1, 2014. Christine, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, serves as a deaconess at Remnant Church in Manhattan, New York. Congratulations to Christine for her recent nuptial.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Gospel at the Crossroad of Pleasing God or Man”
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
What does “trying to please men” have to do with sharing the gospel? As we share with our unbelieving friends ever so tactfully, at some point or another we may wonder, “Am I saying things so the person will like me or think that I am clever? Am I truly being a servant of Christ in my life, actions, and speech?”
Since this is not always black-and-white, frequently examining our motives behind witnessing seems reasonable. As for me, I have a friend in particular who is very difficult to speak to about God. Because my friend has experienced a lot of hurt from the Church throughout his life and, as a result, lives in a defiant manner, I try to be careful when talking about Christ and the Church. I find that in order to keep both the friendship, but feel like I am still being a witness, I’ll try to seed the idea of Christ in his mind by talking a lot about unconditional forgiveness or about being made whole in Christ, but I avoid any talk about how we are deserving of condemnation for our sins without Christ.
I put forth this example because how we exhibit the gospel in our daily lives often falls into those gray zones. Sometimes, I am unsure if I am being wise about the timing of preaching the gospel to him, or if I am sacrificing truth so that I may maintain this friendship by presenting a “vetted” Christianity that will intrigue my friend. Is this okay if it’s a temporary foray into introducing Christ to my friend, or is this an example of secretly trying to win the approval of man rather than God?
While it is still somewhat unclear, I know this much: if my heart seeks approval of men at the cost of the truth, then I am a poor steward of the truth and testimony that God has given me. Three things I do ask for us all is this: first, that God would give us clarity and wisdom about preaching the gospel; second, may He give us the boldness to preach the complete truth to those around us; and third, may He supply our obedience to work in a manner pleasing to Him.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your grace and love in my life; I know that without it, I cannot even live. I confess that I am not always a good steward of Your truth, and I need Your help against the fear of man. Help me to understand Your truth more deeply and not compromise it in my life or in my speech.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 19
Lunch Break Bible Study
Read Galatians 1:11-24: We know that Paul is responding to accusations from others: they question the gospel he preaches and also the apostleship that he has. Significantly, it is the Jewish Christians who yearn to keep the people in line with the Jewish law that most often lobby the accusations against Paul.
Questions to Consider
- In vv. 11-12, what is significant about what Paul says about his faith?
- How does Paul’s inclusion of his testimony bolster what he says about his commission and the gospel that he preaches?
- Read vv.23-24. What does this say about the way God may choose to use us and even our past? Do you allow Him to use your personal testimony in this manner?
- Paul’s understanding of the gospel comes from God alone – the highest authority! While not all Christians must have a “dramatic” conversion experience, our confession of faith comes when we are faced with the gospel, the totality of our sin and our great need for Jesus Christ. For Paul, his conversion came with a great commission for his future work.
- Paul is reminding them of his previous lifestyle, crusading against Christ and Christians, and his great zealotry as a Jew. To have received the gospel of Jesus Christ and be commissioned to preach it to the Gentiles was not his doing; it can only be attributed to God’s grace and direction.
- It’s so encouraging to see that God used Paul’s testimony as a militant unbeliever to make others praise God! Likewise, it strengthens our faith that God can restore every bit of our past.
Did you come across a situation today where you felt like you were tempted to compromise your faith? Let’s pray over it and ask God to redeem the situation, as well as for wisdom to better speak the truth next time.