by Bill Spaans:
Chapter 11 of the gospel by Dr. Luke is packed with important life-lessons for us. In this chapter Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray; about the need for persistence in prayer; about the need to guard our hearts against demonic forces; about the need to hear and obey the word of God; about the need to be filled with the light of the gospel and to allow it to shine out; about the hypocrisy of those who publicly profess faith, but neglect justice; and lastly, about the danger of legalism. Whew! That is a lot to take in!
For me Jesus’ teaching that we must guard our hearts against satanic forces is particularly powerful! The analogy Jesus uses is as follows:
“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.”
Jesus is saying that we need to arm ourselves well to resist the attacks of the evil one. So what is the armor that will make us strong enough to withstand Satan’s advances?
For one thing Jesus points us to prayer. In verses 2 through 13 Jesus provides a pattern for prayer, in what we now know as the Lord’s prayer. He also teaches us about the need to be persistent in prayer. God does listen! Jesus asks, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?”. And the answer is obvious! A loving earthly father will provide what is best for his children. Our loving Heavenly Father will do no less!
Secondly, Jesus emphasises that our actions need to be consistent with God’s calling on our lives – we need to “walk the talk”. In verse 28 Jesus says that we are blessed if we hear the word of God and obey it. In verse 33 He said “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”
In verses 39 – 54 Jesus is very pointed in His criticism of the Pharisees and the “experts in the law”. In verse 42 Jesus says: “Woe to you Pharisees , because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.” And in verse 46 He says “And to the experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”
So let us commit to praying and obeying in these coming weeks, and especially to “walking the talk” by demonstrating the love of God in all our actions. And to God be the glory!