REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Charles Choe who leads Tapestry Church in Los Angeles, was first posted on March 3, 2016. Charles is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Be Careful with Traditions”
10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.
Having served a number of churches, I’ve come to see that every church has its traditions. Everything from cultural to denominational, I have seen people have strong feelings for certain forms of spirituality or church practices that they are even willing to fight and divide over them.
Traditions are not bad; they can be very good and be a way to remember what God has done in the past—a way to relive those important moments. But we can also become enslaved to them. Instead of serving as a bridge to lead to truth and life, it can also be used to build a box to keep God inside and others out.
In our passage, Peter is with Simon the tanner in the city of Joppa. But while Peter was praying on the rooftop, where meals were often served, he enters into a trance and sees a vision of a sheet descending from the heavens with all kinds of animals on it and an accompanying voice with the words “kill and eat.” Peter refused to violate the dietary laws as prescribed in Deuteronomy 14, where ceremonially unclean animals—like pigs and birds—were forbidden for consumption. But the clear message for Peter, and for all Jews thereafter, was to partake of it, because “what God has made clean, do not call common.”
Consider why it was so difficult for Peter to comprehend God’s message. It comes down to building a life on traditions. The Jews were defined by the traditions of their dietary restrictions, and of course, it served its purpose for its time. But when God was ready to do a new thing, Peter found himself initially unwilling to believe—the old wineskin was keeping him from the new wine.
God speaks through the ordinary things of life as well as through the great visions of the heavens. We are called today to pay attention to see how God is doing a new thing in our lives. Am I listening? Am I paying attention? Consider what traditions, habits or past teachings that might be keeping you from hearing afresh the voice of God in your life today.
Prayer: God, help me to see You today. Help me not to take for granted how You speak through ordinary things in life. Allow my ears to listen attentively to Your voice. Don’t allow distractions or traditions to keep me from loving You today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today:Nehemiah 4
Lunch Break Study
Read Galatians 5:16-26: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Questions to Consider
1. What are the works of the flesh? According to Paul, what will keep us from gratifying the desires of the flesh?
2. What is the fruit of the Spirit?
3. What particular fruit of the Spirit do you need to work on?
1. “The works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (verses 19-21). When we allow the Spirit to lead us, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
2. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (verses 22-23).
3. Personal Response.
“Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer