REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 4, 2014.
Devotional Thought for this Morning
“Are You Secure in Christ?”
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker.
Who would introduce himself as “a prisoner”? Is there a social label more stigmatizing than an “ex-con”? Some Asian parents are known to lie about their wayward children who end up in a juvenile hall. When asked, they say, “Oh, he is away at a school.” Frankly, who can blame them?
Yet, Paul, in his personal letter to Philemon, a man who became a believer through his ministry, identifies himself as “a prisoner of Christ Jesus.” He does the same when writing to Pastor Timothy, saying, “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner” (2 Tim. 1:8a).
In no way is that a flattering self-description, especially to the people of the world. Paul probably reasoned it like this: Since the sinless Christ took his place and paid the penalty of sin that Paul, as a prisoner of sin could never pay, he continues to see himself as a prisoner, not of sin, but of his liberator.
In that sense, that self-description is no different than that of John the Baptist, who, upon being told that Jesus was baptizing more people than him, said, “He must become greater; I must become less” (Jn. 3:30). Certainly, both Paul and John demonstrate humility, but it wasn’t for the sake of just being humble; it was to show the greatness of Christ in what he did for humanity and what he can do for each individual.
So, what is one self-description of yourself (besides “the worst of sinners”), which can show the magnitude of Christ to our unbelieving friends and family members? Mine is this: I scored less than 800 on my SAT, and then flunked out of college, but by the grace of God and the strength He gave me, was able to obtain a terminal degree. That’s a story of redemption and there is only one hero in it: Jesus Christ.
So, is your security “secure” in Christ enough to present yourself to others in unflattering ways as a way to demonstrate his all-encompassing greatness manifested through his grace? What keeps you from being secure solely based on Christ’s acceptance of you? Ask the Lord for insights into your life so as to draw near to him in 2021.
Prayer: O Father in heaven, I praise You and magnify You this morning. I know that the desire to impress others may always be there in my flesh, but I also know that my desire for Your name to be exalted is the best way to keep it under control. So God, please strengthen my resolve to make Your name known and for my security to be firmly rooted in Christ’s unconditional acceptance of me. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 5
Lunch Break Study
Read John 21:19-22: Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” 20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
Questions to Consider
- Insecurity can show up at any time. Here, Peter just had been reinstated by Jesus after denying him three times. How would you describe Peter’s insecurity?
- What caused Peter’s insecurity?
- What does Jesus’ response to Peter imply?
- Although Jesus reinstated Peter, it is quite understandable if he had wondered whether things were as normal as before when he was a lead disciple. Seeing John, Peter was emboldened to test it out, to see whether Jesus was as concerned about the future of his friend as himself. Maybe, Peter hoped to hear something that would make him believe that Jesus considered him more special than John.
- It wasn’t enough that Jesus accepted and reinstated him unconditionally; in addition, Peter had to be more special to Christ than others were to him. When we covet something more than Christ himself, that’s showing that we aren’t properly handling our insecurity.
- In short, he said to Peter, “It is none of your business as to what I am going to do for John; stop focusing on other things besides following me to glorify the Father.”
How was your day? Did anything happen that caused you to feel insecure? How did you handle it? Write about it and a prayer thereafter asking God to help you better handle it the next time when it happens (like tomorrow).