Inside: Maybe God has allowed this time so you can learn His ways? Perhaps the wilderness is preceding a new phase of your calling? Knowing the truth will set you free!
Today’s post is by a new friend of mine, Kelly R. Baker. Kelly’s blog is about “Staying Nourished and Thriving,” and she delivers that in each of her writings. When I read her blog posts, it’s always what my heart needs to hear. Enjoy her post here and then check out her site!
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I’ve been to the wilderness enough times that I seem to own a summer home there. Except it’s more of a Sahara shack. It’s definitely not a prestigious home. Why? Because no amount of living in the wilderness is comfortable; I don’t plan on staying any longer than is absolutely necessary.
In the natural, the wilderness is a bleak place deficient of the resources to provide the basic needs of life, rendering one into a state of desolation. The dreariness creeps in emotionally…and spiritually.
My goal is to determine why I’m there, let God have His way, and then make a rapid exit.
Maybe God has allowed this time so I can learn His ways? Perhaps this dry season is preceding a new phase of my calling? Or did I take the Exit to Murmuring and go off the route to the Promised Land like the Israelites?
How to Respond Like Jesus Did in the Wilderness
Prior to beginning His ministry, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1, ESV).
Despite God’s purpose for us in the wilderness season, we might be tempted in the following three ways, too.
Temptation #1: dependence on sustenance
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:2-4, ESV).
Jesus was hungry from His 40 day fast. I don’t know about you, but I think I would be lying in the fetal position, crying. I like food. I honestly need to eat six times a day to avoid becoming weak. Yet the response needs to be:
Temptation #2: identity questioned/misuse the power of God
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:5-7, ESV).
Notice the devil repeated Doubt Talk 101 and said, “IF you are the Son of God.” Jesus knew He was God’s son, and we know we are God’s children. That doesn’t stop the enemy from testing us with classic doubt tactics. Even if I’m unwavering in knowing who and Whose I am, the devil comes to twist. He will try to talk Scripture, and get me to foolishly misuse the power of God. Nevertheless, the response needs to be:
Temptation #3: derailing from the Kingdom of God
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” (Matthew 4:8-10, ESV).
The devil likes to make the things of this world look friendly. But I have to resist that “friendship with the world” (James 4:4) because even a subtle desensitization yields my heart to the wrong lord. I have to remember the kingdom, power, and glory is God’s (Matthew 6:13).
The Truth Will Set You Free
Undoubtedly the response needs to be:
My homage is unto God only. His kingdom is where I serve with my life.
We could say that the first temptation attacked thoughts in the physical arena, the second attacked an emotional mindset, and the third a spiritual focus. Satan doesn’t care if we’re feeling dismal in the dusty desert, already grappling with our stay in a spiritual Sahara. He’s going to hit us with everything he’s got.
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Matthew 4:11, ESV).
But here’s the 4-1-1 (Did you notice that last location in Matthew?). After we use the Word against the devil, he leaves. God ministers to us in return, and faithfully takes care of us even in the wilderness. Because His Word never fails.
When I’m grappling with my stay in a spiritual Sahara, I can become equipped to wield God’s Word in the wilderness.
Understanding and Overcoming TemptationFatal Distractions: Conquering Destructive Temptations: A 6-Week, No-Homework Bible Study (40-Minute Bible Studies)Lioness Arising: Wake Up and Change Your WorldVictory in Spiritual Warfare: Outfitting Yourself for the Battle