REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Han Byul Kim of Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan, was first posted on August 8, 2014. Han Byul, meaning one star in Korean, is a long-time member of the church’s worship team (plays the keyboard).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“What God is Really About”
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
I grew up in a household where everything was very black and white. My mom would often teach me of good and evil, issues like sharing my toys with friends: “Do A, B, and C because it makes God happy; but don’t do X, Y, and Z because it makes God unhappy.” While it helped me to be a “good person” on the outside by being obedient to rules and instructions, it greatly skewed my understanding of God’s heart for me and others.
Since I based God’s pleasure (or lack thereof) on my performance, I would tell my non-Christian friends at school to come to church because attending church is something that made God happy. When I saw a Christian friend do “bad things” like drinking and smoking, I would tell them to stop, because to me, drinking and smoking made God unhappy. Little did I know that God wasn’t interested in fixing people’s behaviors as much as He was in loving them back to life. That’s what God is really about!
Understanding Paul’s message that we are called to freedom comes when we receive God’s love for us that made possible what we couldn’t do by our works. He sent His Son to pay for the debt that was required to restore our broken relationship with Him.
And this is permanent (Romans 8:38-39). Just as spilled water cannot be re-gathered, God’s love poured out on the cross cannot be retracted. He tore the veil and made a way: nothing we can do can undo what Christ has done for us.
So the whole law is fulfilled through one thing – love. Life with Christ is no longer based on performance; rather, it is based on love. It’s tempting to see the wrong things around us while listening to our flesh asking, “What do I need to do to fix this behavior/situation?” but let us listen to the voice of God asking, “Will you lovethisperson/church/city/country?”
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your love that changes everything. We lay down our fleshly understanding of righteousness and receive your grace that makes us righteous. Help us love your people unconditionally as you have loved us. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 9
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 23:25-28: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Matt. 15:8: “This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”
Questions to Consider
- Based on this passage, define religiosity.
- What is so dangerous about religiosity?
- No one can escape religiosity completely. How are you dealing with it? What is the best way to minimize religiosity in our life?
- Religiosity is looking decent, moral and loving outwardly while patting ourselves on our backs for being better than the rest and “hating” those who outshine us. It is duplicity: outwardly beautiful yet inside are found bones of the dead.
- It makes one believe that he is right with God when the Lord doesn’t see it that way. Lips are praising God to the delight of the onlookers while the heart is full of narcissism, self-aggrandizement, and disdain for others.
- Some transparency would go a long way. Honestly admitting our desire to look far better spiritually and morally than what we really are to those who love and care for us so that they can hold us accountable.
Let’s assess some of the decisions we made today. Were they from a place of believing that God loves us unconditionally? Were they from a place of wanting to love those around us the same way? Let’s continue to open our hearts to him for greater revelations of this love.