REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Han Byul Kim of Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan, was first posted on August 7, 2014. Han Byul, meaning one star in Korean, is a long-time member of the church’s worship team (plays the keyboard). Check out her music at (https://www.youtube.com/user/hanbyulru/).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“What a Genuine Spirituality Looks Like”
1 Peter 2:17a
“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.”
“Let love be genuine.”
I recently visited a church that is known for its culture of celebration and honor, where everyone seems happy all the time. The lead worship pastor of the church especially embodied the uppity, positive spirit of the community. My honest thought when I first met her was, “Could this be all genuine? How could she be this joyful toward everyone all the time?”
My prideful speculation was soon countered as I began to see the depth and dimension of her heart through her words and action toward, not only the visitors, but also her own staff. Throughout the course of two weeks, I saw her leading worship and teaching paradigm-shifting thoughts on stage, always with a big smile on her face. Frequently, I heard her speaking of the great impact other speakers have made and building them up with such compliments where anyone would feel undeserving or even embarrassed to receive. But even more frequently was she seen off stage looking out for the needs of the people she was serving with, as small as getting water for them, with the same big smile.
Toward the end of the second week, as I caught a glimpse of her handing out snacks to the staff during their monthly meeting, it clicked in me: Celebrating and serving people come so genuinely and naturally for her because she sees them as how God sees them; that is, with eyes of honor, acceptance and hope. He created us in his own image, fearfully and wonderfully, crowned us with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5), and put eternity in our hearts to treasure the eternal God and become partners for His kingdom work.
Though it is a real challenge to genuinely honor and love someone when all we see is brokenness, let us receive the ministry of the Holy Spirit who aligns our hearts to his and gives us compassion to love the world as he does.
Prayer: Father, You said that we shouldn’t call “unclean” what You have made clean, and likewise, to treat everyone like how You treat them: with honor, acceptance and hope. Open our eyes to see what You see and strengthen us to hope in Your restorative plan to bring all creation in Your dwelling place where all is made whole. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 33
Lunch Break Study
Read Rom. 12:9-16 (ESV): Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
Questions to Consider
- What are some tangible things we can do to benefit and bless others?
- What is implied in “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep”? Relate that to authenticity.
- Are there people in your life right now who need one or more of the blessings listed here? Would you pray about what you can do?
- When someone is being mean to us, we can bless them by praying for them; when we see people being discriminated or ridiculed, instead of joining with those who do these things or be silent, we come to the side of the battered. For instance, we don’t agree to gossip about someone who is being maligned wrongfully.
- This shows that the believers are authentic beings who are not to be dehumanized in any way. No matter how happy one is because of his fortuitous circumstances, he identifies with the sorrow of those who are undergoing difficult times.
- I (P. Ryun) have a brother-in-law who is undergoing chemotherapy to treat cancer. I pray for him every day without fail.
What was our heart’s response when we encountered someone different than us today? Let’s continue to press on to see the way God sees that person and honor him/her in heart and action.