REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on June 28, 2016, is provided by Ulysses Wang who pastors Renewal Church in Sunnyvale, California. Pastor Ulysses is a graduate of New York University (BA) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
“The Life of Faith and Love”
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.”
One constant obstacle to living the Christian life is the desires of the flesh to opt for immediate gratification. Whether having to do with sexual desire, overeating, or all types of addictions (e.g., video games, drugs, gambling, etc.), persuading others and ourselves to abandon the banner that reads “let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die” (Isaiah 22:13; 1 Corinthians 15:32) is a formidable task indeed.
“Well then, let us not be so shortsighted and instead let us think towards the future!” This, however, is not without pitfalls of their own. Others, while shunning the “foolishness” of the fleeting pleasures of the flesh and/or ill-gotten gains, fall into the trap of investing unhealthy amounts of our time, energy and resources toward the creation of a financially, physically and even relationally secure future. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to retire to Florida one day with a clean bill of health. However, if this “future” is what we have our sights on, we will fall well short of the biblical mark.
What enables us to live the life of faith and love that Paul ascribes to the Colossians? The Colossians had become “famous” for their way of life, as Paul says that he had “heard of” the way in which they lived. The answer lies in where they had placed their hope: “in heaven.” While looking to the future is precisely what we ought to do, the problem is, we don’t look far enough. The more we place our hope in heaven and all that it entails, the more we will become empowered to live a life of faith and love, now. This is the whole point of Hebrews 11 – the ancients lived by faith because they were “looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (11:10). This morning, let us examine our hearts to see whether our faith is in God alone or in something else.
Prayer: God, forgive me for placing my hope in anything in this world, whether money or people or career. Help me to see heaven as the ancients did. Open the eyes of my spirit that I may be captivated by the coming kingdom, and live as a citizen thereof. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Exodus 4
Lunch Break Study
Read Hebrews 11:1-2: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.
Questions to Consider
1. We are not talking about having faith in faith. What then is the object of our faith?
2. What can you do to live more by faith?
3. In what ways do you find yourself exercising faith according to the definition of faith given in these two verses?
1. We place our faith in God’s Word and His promises. Thus, we are talking about having
a reasonable, not blind, faith.
2. One suggestion: make a decision because it is the right thing to do according to God’s Word—even if it appears costly and unprofitable at the moment.
3. Personal response
Before going to bed, reflect on Hebrews 11:24-27: By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
Perhaps, you are facing a similar decision that Moses faced: having to choose between the pleasures offered by the world and pleasing God? Seek God’s guidance; pray for the Spirit’s empowerment.