Surviving In the Wilderness
“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:16-17 NLT
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.” Matthew 4:1-2 NLT
As we are moving into the second week of 40 days of Lent and getting closer to Jesus' Journey to the cross, picture another phase on this journey. In the end of Matthew chapter 3, Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descends on Him like a dove, and a voice speaks from Heaven. This would make a great movie scene to introduce the hero of the story as they roll into town to save the day.
However, in the next scene over in Matthew chapter 4, our hero, Jesus, is led in the opposite direction. He is led into the wilderness "to be tempted by the devil". Have you ever made a commitment to walk in a path that is pleasing to God and the next page of your life seems to be anything but pleasing? As a matter of fact, it seems so bad that you want to say, " I didn’t sign up for this, although this is exactly what you signed up to do. A seed will not grow unless it is planted. Its environment needs to change in order for it to develop into what it was meant to become. Certain seeds required specific climates and conditions. What may seem uncomfortable to others is the very thing that brings out the best produce from that seed.
Like a seed, you and I have a designed purpose from God (Jeremiah 29.11). God also knows what it takes to perfect the gift and purpose inside of each of us. The question is whether or not we will give up in the process and deny the test that He places in front of us. In the text, we witness Jesus take on the temptations of the devil with scriptures and faith without the strength of food. His food was His faith and the word of God. In order to get the full benefit from what seems to be your burden here are three tips.
First, Read your Bible. write down notes that you feel God is showing you during your test. Second, remember what you have read in a way you can apply it at the right moment as the Holy Spirit brings it back to your memory. Third, repeat what you read and recite it out loud to your situation and even your enemy. Jesus said throughout His temptation by the devil, "it is written...".
Keep in mind that your victory doesn't mean that it will be the last temptation from the devil. "when the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left Him until the next opportunity came."(NLT) The pursuit from the enemy may actually keep us focused on God's Word to keep us from falling into the traps of sin. The story of transporting Codfish from the East to the West is familiar. None of the efforts of transporting worked until the last effort of putting catfish in the same tank as the codfish. The catfish is a natural enemy so it caused the codfish to stay alert and active during the journey. In the same way we can trust that God has equipped us through His word to maneuver around the pursuit and tempting from our natural enemy the devil.
Whether you are in a test now or will encounter a test later continue to Read, Remember, and Repeat what God has promised you and know that Jesus passed the test so that we may win in this life and the life to come.