The message in church last week was particularly good, partly because I believe it is what the church needs to hear right now, but also because it is what’s on my heart. In fact I have spoken about it before and I’ll talk about it more in the next post – this post is the starter. Some of us may not be in the best place, and we may not feel like the next post applies to us, so this will set the scene and hopefully help you feel that you’re included. This post is about Jesus in the desert. I won’t compare what I have been going through with what Jesus went through, but I have been in the ‘desert place’. Let’s take a look at how Jesus dealt with it.
The Temptation of Jesus
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. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.- Matthew 4:1-11.
The speaker drew our attention to a few things that I had never noticed before. Firstly, the Spirit was with Jesus when He went into the desert, and when He came out. After this He went on to start His ministry. We often forget that we have the Spirit when we go through such times. It was a good reminder that, even though we may not feel all warm and fuzzy inside, the Spirit is still there. The second point that was raised, was satan’s final temptation to Jesus. The devil promised Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth if He bowed to him. Jesus told the devil that we should only bow to God. Jesus didn’t even address the first part of that temptation. The kingdoms of the earth were satan’s to give, but Jesus knew why He came… to defeat satan and get the kingdoms back. Satan was offering Jesus an easy way out. Jesus came to defeat Him, and he was offering Jesus the spoils of victory without having to die. Jesus was having none of it, so much so that He didn’t even offer the devil an answer. Are you in a situation where the devil is offering you an alternative that seems easier? Take Jesus’ advice and have nothing to do with it.
I have been through a tricky patch, and my wife will attest to the fact that I haven’t always dealt with it from a position of faith and authority as Jesus did, so I too need to learn from this. The amazing thing here is that we have the Spirit with us the whole time, and we don’t need to give in to the temptations. What did Jesus do? He rebuked the devil using scripture, the right verses. The devil was using scripture, but out of context. Jesus never took His eyes off of God and what He was called to do. He saw the future, He saw what He believed to be the truth (which was Spirit-led) and He refused to be lead astray by the circumstance that He was in, or the devil’s lies. This is what we need to do (myself included) – we need to pray, spend time with God, and hear His voice. Then we need to believe what He has said and tell our circumstances that they are temporary. We need to believe in what scripture says, above what we may see.
In the words of Andrew Wommack, “Don’t tell God about your problems, tell your problems about God.” I hope that this has encouraged you to have faith, whatever your circumstances. More about this and what we can do about it next time.