Date: Monday, November 11
Scripture: Luke 17:20-37
Verse: Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. (Luke 17:33)
In his classic work Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist Viktor Frankl discusses his method called Logotherapy, which he developed as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl shares the example of a young doctor who came to see him because of his fear of excessive perspiration. In classic psychotherapy the therapist would spend several sessions seeking to get at the physicians fear of perspiring in front of patients, thinking when it is revealed it can then be controlled. Frankl took a very different approach. “I advised the patient,” Frankl writes, “in the event that sweating should recur, to resolve deliberately to show people how much he could sweat… The result was that, after suffering from his phobia for four years, he was able…to free himself permanently of it within one week” (Frankl 124). It seems when he was trying not to perspire, he made himself nervous and triggered more perspiration. Giving up his desire to hold it back eased his nerves and the perspiring ceased.
Folk wisdom tells us much the same thing. People tend to find the love of their life when they stop trying so hard. We get the job, find the house, or get pregnant when we stop making that the center of our being. There appears to be a truth in all of this: When we focus on ourselves, we often get lost in the trying. When we are wiling to give up our focus on ourselves, we often find a much better part of ourselves.
In today’s passage it is easy to miss the forest for the trees. We can get caught up in arguments over Jesus’ thoughts about Noah and Lot, floods and storms of fire and sulfur, people taken and left while in bed or preparing dinner. But these are the trees. The point of the passage appears to be two-fold: (1) the Kingdom of God is coming, but it is already here among us (see verse 21), and (2) the best way to prepare for the coming day is to get your focus off yourself and onto God (see verse 33).
This week’s devotions we’ll be looking at how Jesus values humility, the ability we all have to get our focus off of ourselves. Not only may it help us with our fears and struggles, as Frankl was able to do for his clients, but it will also help us prepare for the day the Kingdom of God comes in all its fullness.
Prayer: God of the great Kingdom, turn my eyes from me and toward you. Amen.
Action: Tryout Frankl’s method in an area of your life this week.
Respond: What do you think of Frankl’s approach? Have you ever had one of those “it happened when I stopped focusing on it” moments? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below.
If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.
Frankl, Viktor E. Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston: Beacon, 2006. Kindle.