#859. The secret to Jesus’ ’success’ (20/7/23)
Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily devotional. This week, we continue in our series, Luke - Exploring who Jesus is. This week, our devotionals are based on Luke 4:31-44. Today’s devotional is entitled, The secret to Jesus’ ’success’.
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'At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.’ (Luke 4:32)
Lesson: Prayer in solitude was the foundation of Jesus’ spiritual health and power and it must be our priority also.
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On Sunday, as part of our worship, a member of the church shared an encouragement to those who, like herself, may have been praying for a miracle or breakthrough that, as yet, had not happened. She used a phrase that struck me: "some of you are using God like a tool to get something." I know that I'm often more passionate about what I want God to do than about God Himself! Loving God and not just what He does is the centre of our life of worship. How can we keep our love for God central and fresh?
Jesus, in the business of His ministry, sets us the example of private prayer. Solitude with God is vital to the health of our hearts and ambitions. Private prayer reveals if we love God for Himself and will also inflame our love for God.
When we read that, ‘At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.’ (Luke 4:32), we know that this is a reference to prayer. In Chapter 5, this is shown to be the case:
‘Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’ (Luke 5:15-16)
It's very important to notice the priority that Jesus gave to private prayer in His example and His teaching. We read in His discipleship course - The Sermon on the Mount:
‘And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’ (Matthew 5:5-6)
We live in a world where we are rewarded for being seen to do the right things. We are rewarded for seeming to have the right opinions on a host of ‘hot topics’. As Christians, we are also rewarded when people see us as prayerful. We are tempted to pray publicly and at length in order to make a good impression. Now, how do we know if we are not hypocritical in our praying? We know we have a right heart if we pray in public but also in private and in secret. Passion in public must never outstrip our private devotion.
Prayer in solitude was the foundation of Jesus' spiritual health and power, and it must be our priority as well.
So when do you pray in secret? Many say they pray on the bus, the tube, while walking to work, etc., and this is fantastic. However, if private prayer is important, surely we can step up and give quality time, like Jesus, to developing our love for our Father, so that we love Him for Himself and not just for what He does for us.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read Luke 4:31-44 (Pay particular attention to 4:43)
On Sunday we looked at Luke 4:31-44 and we made the point:
The good news of the Kingdom means that we can receive the King, enter and experience His Kingdom right now.
Firstly, we saw that to enter the Kingdom we need to receive Jesus as our King/Lord.
Secondly, we briefly looked at 6 ways that we experience the Kingdom now:
i. Experience the acceptance of citizenship.
ii. Experience God’s presence and empowering by the Spirit.
iii. Experience victory over the devil and demons.
iii. Experience the healing of the Kingdom
iv. Experience the holiness of the Kingdom
V. Experience the ways of the Kingdom as we are ‘salt and light’ in the places that God has put us.
We know that when Jesus comes again, we will experience these things - the Kingdom - in fullness but right now we are to experience them in measure.
Did God speak to you about anything specifically from the message on Sunday?
What aspect of the Kingdom would you like to see more of and why?
How can we experience more of the aspects of God’s Kingdom in our lives and church?
SIV - How would you put ‘the message of the Kingdom’ into words that your non-believing friends would understand?
SIV - Lets pray for one another that we would Serve, Invest and Invite more powerfully where God has put us.