UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on May 8, 2015.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Be Different in the World”
2 Sam. 12:13-4 (NASB)
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”
I cannot remember the last time I saw a bumper stick that says, “I love Jesus.” Maybe that’s a good thing since most Christians don’t drive all that differently than those who prefer other stickers such as “My other car is a Porsche.” While some lousy Christian drivers have done some small harm, it pales in comparison to when famous Christian leaders fall from grace, and the whole world knows about it. And that is one reason David’s sin was so detrimental: “Because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt” (2 Samuel 2:14).
In fact, both Moses and Paul used the “What-would-the-unbelieving-world-think” rationale to make their respective cases. When informed of God’s plan to “destroy” the Israelites (Ex. 32:10) for worshiping the golden calf, Moses said to God, “Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he (God) brought them out, to kill them’” (12). Paul, in referring to the law-breaking Israelites, said “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you’” (Rom. 2:24).
Going to school or work is stressful enough. Adding to that the pressure to live out the Christian faith in public may seem too much; as a result, many of us remain as incognito Christians. Some may even skip praying in public before a meal to stay anonymous; yet, once in the safe confines of a church, we dance and holler for Jesus! Don’t live like that! Be a witness for Christ! However, before trying to “stick out” for Jesus, prepare your heart and mind spiritually and intellectually; otherwise, we may end up dishonoring God by hypocrisy and through an inarticulate defense of our faith.
When I was studying social science at a secular graduate school in the 1980s, I worked hard to present cogent views from a Christian worldview in class discussions. Outside the class, I tried to be a good classmate—for instance, by helping out with their school projects. I can say this much: these graduate students—often cynical about the Christian faith—didn’t “diss” the Christian faith, at least in front of me. “Let your light shine before men” (Matt. 5:16) spiritually and intellectually so that they will take Christ seriously.
Prayer: Dear God, I love and praise You today. How I thank You for always providing for me. In view of the fact that the world is getting increasingly hostile to the Christian faith, I often find myself being reluctant to express my faith. Lord, strengthen me to be salt and light for Christ in public places. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 10
Lunch Break Study
Read Matt. 5:13-6 (ESV): You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
1 Pet. 3:15: But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect….
Heb. 12:14: Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Question to Consider
1. What are the two principal ways in which we can attest to the greatness of our God to the world?
2. Ultimately, what is the goal of trying to demonstrate God’s greatness in public?
3. What are some things that we do that result in bringing dishonor to God? Are you satisfied with how you are representing God in public?
1. The principle ways are the following: good deeds that stand out to the surprise of the world and an articulate defense of our faith.
2. We don’t want the public to praise us just because of our excellent moral and ethical conduct; instead, we want them to know that Christ has transformed us to be useful for our society. We want Christ to be exalted.
3. We dishonor God when our moral and ethical conduct is below the standard of the world. This gets worsened when we don’t adequately answer those who ask us for a reason for the hope that we have. Or, even if we are able to respond, our attitude is not borne of gentleness and respect.
Based on how you interacted with others and made decisions today at school or workplace, would you say you represented Christ well or poorly? What often gets in the way that keeps you from being salt and light in public? Ask God so that you can discern those obstacles and then help you overcome them by relying on Him.