“Tell me more,” Sam said.
“The few times I went to church, they asked me if I was a Christian.” Larry said. “Their tone of voice made me feel judged! I haven’t been to church for years.”
“You know, Larry,” Sam said, “I often get angry with my wife. She might not talk to me the rest of the day!”
“How do you handle it?” Larry said.
“Jesus makes a huge difference!” Sam said, “I confess my sin and pray for God’s power to respond with a kind word. Sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me. I’m not perfect. I struggle with sin every day.”
Gary Comer lists the Disclosure window as one of the 10 key mission skills in his book, Remission. A Christian shares present personal sins or struggles to convey grace and Christ’s power, which opens up the dialogue with a non-believer. Luke 11 shows how to resolve our sins and struggles so we can disclose them to others.
1. Pray for God’s kingdom
Jesus' disciples asked for instruction on prayer. Jesus answered (my paraphrase): Father, your name enables me to develop a relationship with you so I can ask that you reign on earth like in heaven, meet my daily needs, be an ambassador to help others experience release from the guilt and power of sin and prevent being led into temptation" (Luke 11:1-4). Pray for God’s kingdom to come down on earth.
2. Pray persistently for Holy Spirit
Jesus told a parable about someone wanting to provide bread to feed an unexpected guest. When his friend refused an initial request at midnight, his persistence was rewarded. He who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and he who knocks on a door, opens it. If unrighteous fathers give to their children, imagine a heavenly father giving the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:5-13). Pray persistently for needs and the Holy Spirit.
3. Defeat strongholds
Some accused Christ of using Satan's power to cast out demons. Christ said a kingdom or house divided against itself falls. Christ said it's impossible to cast out demons if He's divided against Himself. However, if He casts out demons by God's power, then God’s kingdom came upon them. "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters." (Luke 11:14-26). Defeat strongholds and idolatry by God's power.
4. Repent of sin
Jesus said those who observe God’s word are blessed. Christ said this generation didn’t repent of their sin like Nineveh after Jonah preached to them. The Queen of the South will also condemn this generation because she heard Solomon’s wisdom. Someone greater than Jonah and Solomon were in this generation's midst (Luke 11:27-32). Repent of sin and ask for wisdom to do God’s word.
5. Cleanse your heart
No one lights a lamp to put it under a bushel, but on a lampstand so people see the light. Your eye is lamp of your body. A healthy eye enables the body to be full of light instead of darkness. The Lord accused the Pharisees of cleaning the outside, but leaving their hearts full of robbery and wickedness (Luke 11:33-41). Cleanse your heart so others see Christlike purity, mercy and compassion.
6. Model authenticity
The Pharisees neglected justice and God’s love. They sought honor from men being unaware of their dead hearts instead of helping the weak experience justice and God's love. They were accountable for killing and persecuting prophets and apostles since the beginning of time. When Christ left, the scribes and Pharisees plotted against Him. They questioned Him closely on many subjects to catch Him in something He might say (Luke 11:42-54). Model authenticity by sharing Christ’s justice and love in your sins and struggles.
Action Step: Pray for Holy Spirit power to defeat strongholds, repent of sin, and cleanse your heart so you model authenticity by disclosing your sins and struggles with a non-believer.