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Four life-changing insights from Luke 11

Jesus is the most profound, well-grounded Human in the history of the planet, and Luke 11 is chock-full of His wisdom. The fifty-four verses in this chapter reveal a universe of Truth; here’s a sampling:

Insight # 1: Developing a deeply personal, intimate prayer life isn’t as tough as you think.

Lord, teach us to pray…Luke 11:1b

The disciples had a ringside seat to the compassion-packed power and wisdom of the Master. Wherever He went, amazing things followed; whenever He was absent, they knew He was off praying. As a result, it wasn’t surprising when they asked, “Lord, teach us to pray like You do.”

His answer was simple but powerful; the expected in-depth dissertation never came. Instead He shared a short set of priorities for them to pray about, and with this, the well-known Lord’s Prayer was launched. He told them:

  • Honor God as your Father and treat Him and His name as holy (vs. 1).
  • Ask for God’s will and kingdom to be established in your life and in the world around you (vs 2).
  • Ask Him to provide your daily needs (vs. 3).
  • Acknowledge your need for forgiveness in the specific areas where you’ve fallen short (vs. 4).
  • Purposely forgive others who have wronged you in the same way you’ve asked God to forgive you (vs.4).
  • Request that He lead you away from the things that tempt you (vs. 4).

Realize this: Jesus never expected His disciples to rattle off this little prayer, line by line, day after day, clocking in and clocking out. The Lord didn’t present this targeted outline to be used as a magic spell, mantra, or fix-it elixir. Instead, He provided these simple prayer points as springboards by which anybody could launch into prayerful intimacy with God, just by talking to Him about these things. And in this way, He opened the door for His disciples to get as personal as they possibly could with their Father.

The Lord invites you, too, to use the “bullet points” from the Lord’s Prayer to enter into deeply personal, very specific communications with Him. His door is always open; His welcome mat will never be pulled out from under you. And as you enter in, know that you’re praying just the way He prescribed.

Insight #2: Persistence pays off.

…because of his persistence he will…give him as much as he needs. Luke 11:8b

I’ll bet you’ve heard someone say, “I don’t want to bother God about that.” Maybe you’ve said it yourself, hoping the Lord would appreciate your humility. So you back away from praying about those needs you’ve hoped forever that God would take care of, and you tell yourself that you can get by without. And all the while you feel more and more distant from the One you long to know.

But then Jesus goes and tells a parable that flips your “don’t-bother-God” humility on its head!

You see, Jesus told a tale about a persistent man who pounded relentlessly on his neighbor’s door at midnight. A visitor had unexpectedly arrived; the man was out of bread and needed to feed his guest. The neighbor had already gone to bed; climbing out from under his cozy blankets was the last thing he wanted to do—friend or no friend. Surely Jesus was about to rebuke such loud, demanding racket; how very impudent of this man to expect his friend to get out of bed merely to help him out of a self-inflicted jam! You can feel it—you just know what Jesus’ punchline will be: “And YOU? Don’t you DARE bother God about your petty little needs! Don’t you know He’s busy running the universe?”

But wait! Jesus didn’t condemn this man’s boldness; He commended it! “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (Luke 11:8).

Could it be true? Is Jesus actually saying to YOU, “Don’t you dare NOT bother God about your needs! And while you’re at it, stick with it until you get your answer!”? Believe it; your bold persistence doesn’t bother Him—it blesses Him.

Insight # 3: The lit lamp and the clear eye.

The eye is the lamp of the body…watch out, then, that the light in you is not darkness. Luke 11:34a, 35

Paul once wrote, “…I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).

Jesus said it this way, “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar or under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light” (Luke 11:33). Why would anyone put a brilliantly glowing lamp in a cellar or under a basket? Could it be that they feel ashamed of the light?

Paul’s attitude toward the gospel was the opposite of shame; he embraced it as the power of God for salvation to everyone who believed. Jesus likewise highlighted what a normal, healthy attitude toward the Light looked like: Not hiding it; just letting it do its thing—SHINE.

Interestingly, right after Jesus taught about displaying—not hiding—the Light in your life, He said, “The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34).

I don’t know how many times I’ve read this section in Luke, but this time, I saw it differently. Could it be that Jesus linked our approach toward letting His light shine in our lives with the health of our vision? Could our perspective about the Light of Jesus—whether we hide it or let it shine—affect the clarity of our perception?

When you allow the Light to shine brightly in your life, do you safeguard your vision? By the same token, is your vision mucked up when you’re ashamed of the very Truth that once set you free?

If you are currently experiencing overwhelming darkness, confusion, or oppression, make tracks back to the Light of the world, soak up His rays, and allow His brightness to radiate boldly once again through you. His Light is unquenchable; the only one who can block it in your life is you.

Go ahead—pull that lamp back out from under the bed or basket where you’ve been hiding it. Bring it on up from the cellar and let its beautiful radiance once again be a beacon of Life to the world around you.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

Insight # 4: Cleanness—major on inner; minor on outer.

When the Pharisee saw it [that Jesus had sat down for lunch without washing up], he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal. Luke 11:38

Some of us seem to place top priority on how we appear to others, whether physically, socially, intellectually, or spiritually. We want to “get it right” on the outside no matter what might be happening on the inside. As long as we look good to others, that’s all that matters. Or is it?

Jesus, frustratingly so to the religious folks of His day, wasn’t too concerned at all about the externals. Oh, He nitpicked, but not about how people looked. He pointed His laser light on the inner workings of the heart—pride, ambition, kindness, and humility before God and manmotivations of the heart.

He said to them, Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness” (Luke 11:39).

Imagine offering your friend a steaming cup of coffee or tea in an exquisite, sparkling cup. As they gratefully receive it and start to sip the contents, they notice crusty leftovers growing mold inside just below the lip of the cup. Then they notice something wiggling around, making figure eights in the brew. A critter surfaces and winks at them.

“What are you trying to do to me???? Are you crazy???” they yell as they toss your beautiful cup aside.

But you blink with astonishment and say, “But that cup is gorgeous! It looks so clean and sparkling in your hand!”

This is, in reality, what we are doing when we place all our focus on how we appear to others—whether physically, socially, intellectually, or spiritually. We may be a beautiful, stylish, with-it looking vessel, but beneath the surface—where it really counts—we’ve let leftovers accumulate, growing mold and attracting critters. If this describes your situation right now, don’t be surprised if someone says, “No thank you” to your offered cup of tea.

Jesus declared, “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also? But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you” (Luke 11:40, 41).

When you pay more attention to the climate inside of you than you do to how others think you look, your outer appearance will reflect a pure heart sooner or later.

Then when you offer your cup of brew to someone, they will find its contents wonderfully refreshing and mold- and critter-free.

May you walk freely, simply, and boldly with your Friend, the Light of the world.



© 2017, Dorothy Frick