Lunch Time Devotionals
Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.”
“Trials: Peer Pressure”
We are now to the third gospel, Luke. Luke is a physician by occupation. He presents Jesus as the perfect man who came to save a sinful people. His presentation is a chronological tracing of the twin themes of growing belief and growing opposition.
Our first passage is from the “Beatitudes.” The parallel passage is Matthew 5. The message from Luke 6:22 is that the Christian life is not a “bed of roses” on earth. In fact, if we are “going against the flow” of the world, then there will be conflict. Don’t look for conflict for conflict’s sake. Let the world see Jesus living through you. Never allow your behavior to be a stumbling block to anyone finding God.
But if living your life according to God’s standards causes conflict, then so be it! Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Expect lack of acceptance, lack of respect, insults, criticism, and unfair treatment.
But, always make certain that the criticism or “unfair treatment” isn’t really warranted. Then, with a pure conscience, endure the trial. As Believers, we have the hope of eternity where we have the promise of absolute fulfillment – lacking nothing. You are now setting aside treasures in the world to come. Remember that God is responsible for fairness toward you. Leave that to Him – concentrate on your obedience!
Luke 6:27-28, 31 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Do to others as you would have them do to you.?”
The “Golden Rule” says: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” It is a direct quote from Luke 6:31. So much for the people that deny the Judeo-Christian foundation of our morals and ethics! You have heard it since you were a child. Parents and teachers have used this rule to instruct children from an early age, teaching them how they ought to treat one another.
Even though this is quite familiar to us, do we apply it as truth? Sometimes! Unfortunately, we do not apply it all the time. We have a very strong tendency to worry about “our rights” and “what is fair” for us. It is more common for us to live by these worldly standards: “Win at any cost;” “Do unto others before they do to you.”
Look at the key elements of Luke 6:27-28. We are not only called to treat our friends and family with love, but love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. You see, it is easy to love those who love you in return: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32). We are called to love those who are unkind to us!
How do you do this? You start by leaving “fairness” to God and coming to grips with the fact that we have relinquished our rights to the Father. He’s sufficient. He has a plan. He knows the end from the beginning. Let God watch over these areas. Let Him keep score!
*If these principles were applied universally, enemies would become friends!
Luke 6:45 “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the outflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
A person’s true character will eventually come out in his conversation and behavior. The concept is simple: Good will come out of the good man and evil will come out of the evil man. The heart is the source of the spring of life! If the heart is pure, behavior and actions will be pure. This is pleasing to God.
A true change must happen from the inside out. David knew this. That’s why he prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a stead fast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10). Later in that same prayer: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17).
Watch over your heart! Don’t let the world “dilute” you. Take a spiritual inventory: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34). Your heart follows your true treasure. Is your treasure the Lord God or something (someone) else? What you say and how you spend your time and money is a good barometer of your spiritual life.
The only way to please God is from a pure heart. Words and actions will follow. Try to commit Psalm 51:10, 17 to memory, so that God is your focus and your heart remains pure.
Luke 11:2-4 “He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins.”
This passage is from a segment of Scripture that is commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer.” In reality it is a teaching by Jesus on the general format for prayer. Contained in it are nuggets of truth with regard to how we are to approach God in prayer:
- Reverence for God.
- Acknowledge His claim on us and the world around us.
- Thank Him for the necessities of life.
- Acknowledge that only through God’s mercy do we have redemption from sin.
It is through prayer that we become alert to the heart of God. We cannot discern His will for us unless we spend time on our knees before Him. The Lord’s prayer is where to start. Unfortunately, our prayer lives are riddled with many personal requests. James says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss.” (James 4:3). If prayer is just asking for things out of a desire for self-fulfillment, we will miss the mark. Remember that the more we seek self-fulfillment, the less we will seek God.
Do you want God’s will for you, or simply to have Him answer your requests? Remember that at the beginning of your Christian life, you were full of requests – because of immaturity. As you grow in Christ, you become “clued in” to God’s purposes. Then your goal for prayer can be centered on the Lord: “Your will be done!”
Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
“More Is Not Better”
Don’t be fooled! You cannot be focused on the world and the material things it has to offer and be simultaneously focused on God. It doesn’t work! As we have said in previous devos, if your treasure is material things, then your heart will pursue them to the exclusion of your spiritual life with God. (Luke 12:34). In short, concentration on material things steals our spiritual vision.
Why did Jesus have so much to say about money? Because it is so “tricky” from a spiritual standpoint. It is something that you need to evaluate and re-evaluate constantly in your life so that you do not slip into the “way of the world.” Money and material things are value neutral in and of themselves. Money becomes positive if we use it for God’s purposes. It is negative if it steals our focus from God.
There is another principle from the verses immediately preceding our passage today: “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches.” (Luke 16:11). You see, handling material things is a proving ground. It is preparation for accumulating eternal riches. Remember the parable of the talents: “To everyone who has – more will be given.” (Luke 19:26).
More is not better. The key is to be “in-tune” with God’s purposes and handle material things with a light touch, according to God’s principles.
YOUR LIFE IS THE SUM OF THE RESPONSES YOU HAVE MADE TOWARD GOD: Oswald Chambers