“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1
We know precious little about most of Jesus’ life pre-ministry, but we know for sure that the Son of God prepared in part by being baptized, and then following the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to fast and pray. Actually, Matthew tells us that He went to be tempted by the devil.
Which makes me wonder: did Jesus know that? Did the Holy Spirit whisper, “Gird your loins, JC, I’m going to leave you out here to be tested by the incarnation of evil—You might want to bring along a crucifix and some holy water because things are about to get real!”?
Maybe not, but Jesus would have known with certainty what we are seldom aware of: that in seeking intimacy with the Divine, we make ourselves available to attack by the devious.
Crippling guilt when we are convicted by our sin.
The temptation to hit the snooze button instead of getting to church on time.
The inner voice that answers “I should tell this person about Jesus” with “Why? He’s just going to laugh at you!”
If we really want to live the abundant life, we need to allow God to lure us into closeness with Him in the wildernesses of our hearts, without holding back. Jesus knew what He was getting Himself into by taking on our humanity and ministering to us through His life and death. Because of all that, we can also enter into a world of temptations empowered by the strength of Jesus’ name.
Lord, You have overcome temptation. Help me to cling to Your name when I am tempted to stray, and to recognize the devil even in his subtlest forms. I love You, and I want my whole life to reflect that. In Your name I pray, amen.
Resist the urge to go, go, go! and allow God to draw you into His presence. Set aside time to fast and pray and meet God in your own wilderness.
Does fear of spiritual warfare cause you to hold back in your relationship with God? When you are confronted with spiritual opposition, do you pull back from Him?