Updated Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on October 17, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
Pilate knew that it was out of envy that the Jewish leaders handed Jesus over to him (Mk. 15:10).
They began to feel this way upon hearing an unfavorable comparison. Mark reports that “the people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law” (1:22). What further amazed the people was Jesus’ lack of formal education, which prompted them to wonder, “How did this man get such learning without having studied” (Jn. 7:15). However, since the teachers of the law underwent rigorous rabbinical training, Jesus’ popularity bothered them even more. So, they made up lies, like accusing him of being possessed by Beelzebub, to discredit Jesus.
Meet Pastor Javier (PJ) whose church we attended for many years in Mexico. PJ shared one thing in common with Jesus: he had no formal theological training. But instead of trying to distance me, perhaps because I might make him look bad, he embraced me as his teacher. His desire to be better equipped to serve the Lord overcame whatever human feelings he might have had. In 2005, as we were about to leave for a 2-month furlough to visit our supporting churches in the U. S., PJ wrote me a letter, which he asked me to share during my travel.
PJ wrote: “Ryun, the Lord has used you so much to enrich my ministry particularly in the area of my greatest weakness: formal theological training that I never received but God has supplied it through you. You are my teacher! It’s still a shock to me that I am the pastor of the largest Baptist church in our regional convention, being that I am the least prepared among my peers. All the glory be to God who continues to use the lowly and the weak (I), encouraging and equipping them through the best of His sons (you).”
Upon reading it, I was so humbled by PJ’s humility. So, don’t be like the petty teachers of the law; instead, choose to be humble and teachable; learn to give credit to others. And serve the Lord.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I confess that my heart has become hardened. I am neither teachable nor humble as I need to be. Instead of trying to change on my own, I look to Jesus, who, being in very nature God, made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant. May Your word and example inspire me! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 65
Lunch Break Study
Read John 3:26-30: And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Gal. 5:15 (ESV):“But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
Question to Consider
1. When people told John what Jesus was doing, what were they, in effect, doing? How do you think John might have felt?
2. What can happen when we are given to envy?
3. Based on how John handled his situation, what is the best way to handle a situation that causes us to be envious?
1. Perhaps, unbeknownst to them, the people were comparing John’s ministry with Jesus’. Humanly speaking, John couldn’t have been too happy about becoming second fiddle, that is, being less significant in the eyes of people.
2. From the example left by the teachers of the law, we see that it leads to biting and devouring one another. Ultimately, it can consume us to the point of committing unthinkable acts, which in the case of these teachers was murder.
3. I think that understanding our role is critical to overcoming envy: John knew why he was sent, which was to prepare for the ministry of Jesus. What also helps is cultivating a heart that wishes others to do well: John was happy that his cousin Jesus was doing so well. Lastly, his satisfaction came from serving God.
How was your day? Did you face a situation where your humility was tested? Did someone make you feel like you weren’t as informed or intelligent? What did you find out about yourself? Turn to the Lord.