REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional QT, provided by Jabez Yeo who is now a friend of AMI, was first posted on August 2, 2016. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (B.S.) and Columbia International University where he studied Islam (M.A.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Being Ostracized for My Faith”
2 Corinthians 4:7-11
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Have you ever felt ostracized at school or work for your faith? Being on the wrong end of controversial social issues, such as same sex marriage, can get you there in a hurry. But that has always been the case—just ask Athanasius, the 4th century theologian from Alexandria, Egypt.
When Athanasius was young, his mentor, Alexander, composed the Nicene Creed with others to combat Arianism—the heresy that only God the Father was truly divine, and that Jesus was created (equivalent to what the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe). Unfortunately, Arius’ supporters eventually convinced Emperor Constantine to reword the Creed and to order Athanasius (who was now bishop) to reinstate Arius. When Athanasius refused, his enemies spread false charges of treason, which led Constantine to exile him to Germany.
Several years later, Constantine’s son Constantius tried to change the wording of the Nicene Creed to say that the Father and Son were “of a similar substance,” homoiousios, instead of the same substance, homoousios. Notice that the only difference between these two words is the Greek letter iota (ι). However, by emphasizing that the Father and Son are not identical, it would have opened the door to Arianism by implying that the Son is inferior to the Father.
In the midst of such strife, Athanasius wrote works such as On the Incarnation of the Word to emphasize the necessity of a real human incarnation of God. For Athanasius, the difference between homoousios and homoiousios was immense; for “if a being is God (homoousios), then saying He is like God is entirely wrong. If a being is only like God (homoi), then declaring Him to be God would be heresy if not blasphemy.” Athanasius became known as “the saint of stubbornness” for his insistence that the Son had to be truly God, because only God can undo sin.
Were it not for Athanasius, the dogmas of Christ’s full deity and God’s triunity would have been lost, and we would have a Jehovah Witness-like belief in Christ as a great creature of God. Though Athanasius was “afflicted, persecuted and destroyed,” he continued to defend orthodoxy and spoke the truth powerfully. Let’s ask for that same Spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7) in the midst of spiritual opposition.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, it’s so hard to stand up for my faith in times of ridicule or slander. Please give me the strength to speak Your truth with power, love and self-discipline—even though it may come at great personal cost. Thank You for enduring suffering for the sake of my salvation. Grant me the strength to deny myself, pick up my cross and follow You. In Your Name I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Numbers 26
Lunch Break Study
Read John 7:40-43: On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.
John 17:17b: “Your word is truth.”
Questions to Consider
- In light of the Lord who prayed, “I pray . . . that all of them may be one” (Jn. 17:21), what is so peculiar about the above passage?
- Ultimately, what is more important than unity (at all cost)?
- In your personal walk with God, have you ever paid a price for standing up for God’s truth? What keeps us from willing to pay a price to follow Christ in this world?
- On account of Jesus, people were divided because each held a differing theological view regarding Christ’s identity. That continues to be the case today; for instance, while Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God, to a Muslim, He is a mere prophet who is certainly not God. 2. Truth is more than unity—unity without any regard for truth is nothing more than a temporary alliance that is going to implode a lot sooner than one thinks.
- Jesus puts it like this: “they loved human praise more than praise from God” (Jn. 12:43).
When everyone seems to like us, we don’t really feel the need for God; but it’s when no one seems to like us—not because of anything we have done but because of our beliefs based on God’s word—we are in tune with our need for God. Even if everyone likes us for the right reason, we should withdraw from them to spend a quiet moment with God, confessing our weakness and need for Him. Look at what Christ did before beginning another busy day of ministering to people: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’” (Mk. 1:35-6).