Posted by: Kara Luker | March 19, 2012

Language lessons

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates… Deuteronomy 20:18-20

I can’t recall the specific context, but I remember hearing a story on NPR several years back in which a woman was describing her efforts to learn Italian. Though she was doing the hard work of studying vocabulary, sentence structure, and pronunciation, it continued to seem foreign to her mind and mouth. The frustration mounted, as did the doubt that she – an adult learning another language for the first time – would be capable of achieving this lifelong goal. Yet, with a trip to Italy approaching, she persisted in her studies.

I remember vividly the elation I felt when she explained that one day it finally “clicked” for her. It wasn’t because she had full faith in her ability or because she had conquered every doubt. It was because she had the desire and just enough belief to keep plugging away despite outward evidence that it just wasn’t working and maybe never would.

While praying with a friend recently, this story came to the forefront of my mind. I felt the Lord saying that my friend and I – and all who persist in learning His truth – will have breakthrough and find freedom. Not because of perfect faith or victory over every single doubt, but simply because there is a desire to know Him and just enough belief to keep pressing into truth despite outward evidence that it isn’t working. If we continue to put his word before us, listen to his voice, and seek his heart, things will eventually click. Understanding will come and this language of Love will no longer sound or feel so darn foreign.

It will be like many I know who have moved here from other countries. The initial mental work of translating each phrase and missing the meaning of much will be transformed into a process so natural that it becomes our default language; the one of thought, not just of word. What will take effort is our old language, which will have been replaced… not just by a new accent or vocabulary, but by a whole new understanding. This is freedom.


  1. Brilliant! Simple and profound. Living from the life and rule of the Holy Spirit within should (and can) become first nature, not second nature. It really can be a struggle as we enter a new kingdom and take on new citizenship, but as we leave the ghetto of the world system and live in the kingdom, we are changed as we “work out our own salvation, for it is God who wills (gives us the desire) and works (gives us the power),” as you quoted in Philippians.

    You made me think of my parents coming to America and actually delighting in the struggle of becoming fully American. As a result of that commitment, Ray and I grew up in an American atmosphere. Our choices directly affect our children’s citizenship.

    • Wow. I hadn’t even thought about the way it affects our children’s citizenship, yet it’s so easy to see how the persistence of one generation can bless the next. Your parents are a perfect example of that. It’s interesting that the very next line in the Deuteronomy verse I quoted is: “so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”

      Also loved your “ghetto of the world system” phrase. Well said!

  2. I think you are both “Brilliant”:

    • Even though I can’t remember the words for basic household items and sometimes get lost coming home? 😉

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. Love this Kara… It really is just what I needed to read!
    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful heart 🙂

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