Life Secrets Drawn From Luke Chapter 17-18
Insights on Forgiveness, Faith and Service
Chapter 17 begins with Jesus’ mind-provoking teaching on “forgiving seventy times seven times"; that as long as there is confession, there should be forgiveness. We do this out of the humble realization of how much we have been forgiven by God. We release those that hurt us by forgiving them, and as a result, we enjoy the peace and freedom that comes with forgiveness. We forgive as we are forgiven by Him. If He forgave all, we forgive all.
On faith, Jesus showed that the disciples didn't necessarily need an 'increase' in faith per se, but rather they needed faith in action. They asked for 'more' faith but He showed them what 'small' faith could do. We have all been given “THE measure of faith” and not “A measure of faith”. It's not the quantity but the quality of faith followed by a corresponding action.
On service, Jesus reminds us that as good stewards, our service should not depend on the rewards that follow, but rather on our gratitude and profound sense of honour that we should feel, having realized that He chose us to serve him. We don't serve because of what he is going to give us; we serve because of what He has already done for us and who He has made us.
Insights on Thanksgiving and the Kingdom Concept
On thanksgiving, we see from that portion of scripture that only one leper returned to thank Jesus for the healing he received. The other nine did not give it a thought. The sole leper that expressed gratitude ended up receiving wholeness in addition to healing. Lesson: We should cultivate an attitude of gratitude, always thanking God for all He does in and through us, as opposed to relentlessly loading him with endless petitions.
On the Kingdom, we are reminded that the Kingdom is within us; an invisible realm of God’s rule and reign. This is effected by the presence of the Holy Ghost in us. God’s entire Kingdom is resident in you; what a priceless privilege? This is one of the greatest truths in the bible. Because of this, everything you will ever need is within you. Think about that for a second!
Where Are You Looking?
The Kingdom of God is within us! We need to adopt an "inside-out" approach; to work the the things of God out of our spirits into the environment that surrounds us.
Jesus Will Return
Lastly the chapter speaks on the end-time revelation of Jesus and the rapture, the key being the call to 'lose' your life and find it in Christ, so that when Christ finally reappears, you are received by Him. As believers we have a blessed hope that he returns for us as His body and bride, to reign with him throughout all eternity. Live daily with that hope and assurance.
A Look at Chapter 18
The highlights in this chapter include;
Humility and self-righteousness
Crucifixion and Faith
Lessons on Prayer, Humility and Self-Righteousness
On prayer, we learn about the value of persistence in prayer. This prayer is the kind that is exhibited by a believer who pushes beyond limits and doesn't give up. We ought always to pray and not give up. Persistence is knocking until the door is opened. It is lingering in His presence until something changes. Lesson: Keep praying; keep knocking; keep seeking, and keep asking.
On humility and self-righteousness, we are shown in scripture that the self-righteous Pharisee received nothing from God even though he thought he qualified through his “good deeds”. The humble and remorseful tax collector on the other hand, received forgiveness and righteousness.
Some of the lessons here are:
1. Our righteousness is of God and not of ourselves.
2. Have faith in His righteousness and not your own.
3. Be always grateful for being made the righteousness of God through Christ.
4. Self-righteousness produces pride and pride leads to a great fall.
5. Seek first His righteousness and humble yourself under it.
Additional Insights on The Kingdom, Riches, Discipleship and The Cross
On the Kingdom, Jesus teaches that we must receive it “like little children”. We receive it with child-like faith, without wavering. You believe that whatever the Kingdom represents will be manifested in your life and you make no room for doubt.
On riches, He says that the temptation is for the rich man to trust in his riches rather than lean on the purposes of God for his life (like selling what you have to feed the poor). The problem is not the riches (otherwise He wouldn’t become poor for us to become rich, as the scripture clearly says in 2 Corinthians 8:9); the problem is where you put your heart and trust. True riches come from the place of investing in Gods Kingdom purpose for your life.
On discipleship, Jesus promises eternal reward on earth and in the life to come for all who choose to follow him. Choosing to follow Him is never a loss, it's an investment.
Jesus then speaks of his imminent crucifixion and resurrection. However, we see from scripture that His twelve disciples, didn't understand him at the time, because revelation hadn’t been given to them as yet. Not everyone will understand your processes of life, in the moment. God will reveal to you things that even your closest friends can't figure out. The revelation of purpose is first personal before it becomes public.
At The Cross
Who's To Blame?
Sometimes people wonder, “If God's Word says I'm a success, why are things not working out for me?” What they haven't realized is that even though God wants you to be prosperous, successful, excellent, and sound, you have to line up with the Word, and decide to be all He wants you to be. It's a personal choice that you must make.
Faith Must Be Activated: It's Your Call!
Lastly, in this chapter we see a blind man healed through his faith in Jesus. Some simply followed the crowd but the blind man chose to act on his faith and stand out from the crowd. Faith separates you from the crowd and every act of faith, at whatever level, will always be rewarded.
"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you, life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Anyone can do anything for you, including praying for you and sharing the Word with you, but no one can make decisions for you. You have to make your own decisions. God's role is to guide you through His Word, and the Holy Spirit, so you can make the right decisions. Many people have invited all manner of trouble in their lives because of bad decisions. Your life today has turned out to be the way it is because of the choices you made. In the same vein, your tomorrow is dependent on the choices and decisions you make today.
God has given you the right to either choose life and blessings or death and curses. He didn't predestine anyone for failure; rather, He wants you to prosper and be in health (3 John 1:2); He's ordained a great life for you. Therefore, decide that you're going to fulfil the dream He has for you. How you live your life, what decisions you make, is entirely up to you.
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” The responsibility for your life isn't so much with God as it is with you. Indeed, He's God and He's all-powerful; with Him, all things are possible. However, the power to change things – His power to produce the miracle you desire or require – is already inside you! It's your responsibility to activate it. Whatever God will do in your life is to the extent of the operation of His power in you.
So you see, you really can't, and shouldn't, hold God responsible for all happenings or outcomes in your life; neither is He the one “delaying” the fulfilment of His Word in your life; you're the one to activate the power in you. It makes no difference what you need; be it healing, increased finances, a new job, a child, growth and expansion in ministry, business or in your career, success in your studies, etc., the power to make it happen is inside you.
God gave us His Word as a tool with which to build our lives, and frame our world. You can create for yourself a victorious life of divine health, success, peace and prosperity through the Word of God in your mouth. The Psalmist describes the glorious life of the one who constantly speaks out or meditates on the Word of God: “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3).
You Can Do It!
You can choose to be a success! You can choose to walk in divine health every day! You can choose to do excellently well in life. It's a choice that you have to make. You might ask, “Is it that simple?” Yes! I admonish you to make that choice today, if you haven't done so already. Don't allow circumstances to dictate how you will end up in life. Take charge of your life today and make it what you want it to be! Make the decision to live the glorious life that God has planned for you.