REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 16, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Look at all the Wonderful Things I Have Done for You”
“Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I appeal to you on the basis of love . . .”
Once, to get one of my kids to do something that he didn’t feel like doing, I reminded him of all the wonderful things I had done for him lately. To that he responded, “If that’s the reason, then please don’t do them anymore.” Since I couldn’t get what I wanted, I immediately reached for the “you-owe-me” button. Of course, I had other options, like bribing him or imposing my will over him (“Do it”), but I chose neither. Bribing is never a good idea and the imposition of my will seems contrary to patience, kindness and not being rude. Instead, I found myself feeling defensive, insisting that my love for him is not conditional.
Doesn’t it look like I have all the makings of a spineless parent? Actually, I don’t remember what I asked my kid to do that day, but if it was something trivial like, “Can you bring me a cup of water?” then I was being pathetic for using the “you-own-me” line. Having said that, whether or not it is okay to use “you-owe-me” logic or other means to get people to do what they ought to do depends on the significance of the issue at hand.
Now, if the matter is whether or not to obey God’s will, then the unwilling should be told, “You owe [God] your very self” (Philem. 1:19). This is not conditional love. The disobedient should be reminded that “every act of disobedience” is “punished” (2 Cor. 10:6). This is not a threat. The unmotivated should be reminded that God rewards every act of righteousness (Matt. 10:40-2). This is not a bride.
No, God’s love is never conditional. He doesn’t do nice things to get us to do something for Him later. Whatever the Lord does, including the pain that is allowed in our lives, is for our own good (Heb. 12:10-1). But first, God ensures that we are adequately informed of His ways and character so that we can properly exercise our free will to choose Him on the basis of love.
So, what is He speaking to you about these days? Are you listening? Are you going to obey Him?
Prayer: Father, please unclutter my mind full of worldly advices, that may be good in some things but not so when it comes down to why I ought to obey You. When I am being ungrateful, constantly remind me of the sacrifice your Son made to redeem me. When I get excited about the rewards that this world offers for choosing my way over yours, remind me of eternal rewards that come from having been chosen by You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 17
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Cor. 9:24-7: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Questions to Consider
- In speaking of being motivated to serve the Lord, what seems to be motivating Paul here?
- Imagine that you are working with a personal trainer who is trying to get you to run faster and hit Harder! What are some things you should expect to hear from him during training?
- Apart from today’s theme, what is the gist of this passage? What is it really saying?
- In short, Paul does not want to lose his rewards by finishing poorly. Many pastors hardly talk about rewards, but you can hardly turn the page in the Bible without reading about it.
- Most trainers would remind them of the benefits and the rewards of reaching the goal (winning the race or the match). They may mention what they have personally invested in order to help them. Thus, it is okay to mention to our kids, when they are being ungrateful, prudently and sporadically, what had been done for them.
- There is no day off in the Christian life. It is a constant battle not to yield to the desires of the flesh. The moment we do, it may begin the downward spiral of spiritual laziness and carelessness with a devastating result.
Were you able to live today with a sense of gratefulness toward God? Perhaps, you are going through a tough time now and feel frustrated with Him. That happens but God’s love for you never changes. Offer God a prayer of thanksgiving for his son Jesus, who never ceases interceding for you (1 Jn. 2:2).