REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional Quiet Time, provided by Christine Li, was first posted on May 26, 2015. Christine, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, serves as a deaconess at Remnant Church in Manhattan, New York.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“How Hard Is It for You to Accept Correction?”
2 Samuel 19: 7-8
“Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.”So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, “The king is sitting in the gateway,” they all came before him. Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes.
Even though David was a man after God’s own heart, he was not immune to moments of weakness. After hearing that Absalom, his son who had betrayed him, was killed by the army, David began to mourn in a way that made all his people uncomfortable. Joab, David’s commander of the army, rebuked him sharply for an inappropriate display of grief. Though Joab’s tirade was extremely harsh, David’s meek response showed that he was humble enough to accept correction.
When I began a new job last summer, I had only 10% of the skills and knowledge to complete my tasks each day. In addition, I didn’t know anyone’s name, where to get lunch, or even where the restroom was – needless to say, I made quite a few mistakes in my first few weeks on the job. However, because I was open to learning and began to ask others for feedback, I grew in my ability to do my work and to take on more difficult tasks.
Unfortunately, even though I know that my relationship with God is a journey of continuous learning, I must admit that I do not similarly invite correction and teaching. In fact, I try to present myself as not needing anybody’s rebuke! But Scripture is full of the reminder that the wise man not only responds to rebuke but is thankful for it (Psalm 94:12-13, Psalm 141:5, Proverbs 9:8, for some examples). It seems that by avoiding correction, I only relegate myself to foolishness.
Do you invite correction into your life, and do you gladly accept the words that others offer? It can be very difficult to accept rebuke, and certainly very few people are keen on being criticized or told that we are wrong. Our pride will certainly blind us to our own faults and keep us from respecting the opinions and words of others.
It is not easy to cultivate a humble heart, but God is the one who can transform us. I urge us to pray for three things: (1) vulnerability to let others into our lives, (2) recognition of someone whose guidance and correction we can accept, and (3) the humility to accept correction when it is delivered. I am sure that as God changes our hearts, we will find ourselves open to correction and reacting with grace and wisdom just as David did.
Prayer: Father, You know that I can be too prideful to let others into my life. Give me eyes to see that You have placed me in a community so that I can be correctly taught. Give the people around me wisdom and love to speak into my life, and give me humility to learn their well-intentioned corrections. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 5
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Corinthians 12: 4-7, 14-26: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. . . . 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Questions to Consider
- What does Paul say about the distribution of gifts?
- What does Paul say about the body having many parts?
- What is the significance of sandwiching the passage about “many parts” within this passage of spiritual gifts? How can this be practically applied in our lives?
- One, gifts are distributed individually, meaning that each believer is important and has individual work to do for the Lord. Second, distribution comes from the Spirit- therefore, no one can boast of any gift or any work, because it has all been distributed out of the grace of God.
- As a body, each part is significant and needed. Although others may be completely different in skill or gifting, they should not be rejected as a result of their differences. As God is triune but one, so the church should be of many parts but wholly united.
- We are called to honor all others in the body; this respect and love will guide our ability to work in harmony and also accept one another’s gifts. We must ourselves also discern what our spiritual gifts are as our contribution to the body of Christ.
Did you discover anything new about yourself that you weren’t aware of before? How did you respond to someone who criticized you today? How did you handle a situation in which you didn’t really know what you were doing? How did you react when someone shared a nasty gossip about a mutual friend? How can your faith in God be relevant in such situations? Ask the Lord for wisdom and boldness to live the life of faith in where you work, study and live.