Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Led by the Spirit in the wilderness


Luke 4:1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness


Sometimes we feel that if the Holy Spirit leads us, it will always be "beside peaceful streams" (Psalm 23:2). But that is not necessarily true. He led Jesus into the wilderness for a long and difficult time of testing, and he may also lead us into difficult situations. When facing trials, first make sure you haven't brought them on yourself through sin or unwise choices. If you find no sin to confess or unwise behavior to change, then ask God to strengthen you for your test. Finally, be careful to follow faithfully wherever the Holy Spirit leads.

The devil, who tempted Adam and Eve in the garden, also tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Satan is a real being, a created but rebellious fallen angel, and not a symbol or an idea. He constantly fights against God and those who follow and obey God. Jesus was a prime target for the devil's temptations. Satan had succeeded with Adam and Eve, and he hoped to succeed with Jesus as well.

Knowing and obeying God's Word is an effective weapon against temptation, the only offensive weapon provided in the Christian's "armor" (Eph_6:17). Jesus used Scripture to counter Satan's attacks, and so should we. But to use it effectively, we must have faith in God's promises because Satan also knows Scripture and is adept at twisting it to suit his purposes. Obeying the Scriptures is more important than simply having a verse to quote, so read them daily and apply them to your life. Then your "sword" will always be sharp.


Are you in a wilderness today? A dry season in your life? Have about a storm that is brewing? Then read these words from Mark 6:46-51: "the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out… But immediately He talked with them and said to them… 'It is I; do not be afraid.' Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased".

There are four lessons here for us:

1) It's when we feel most separated from God, that He's teaching us the most.

Dave Dravecky said, "Looking back… I have learned that the wilderness is part of the landscape of faith, and every bit as essential as the mountaintop. On the mountaintop we are overwhelmed by God's presence. In the wilderness we are overwhelmed by His absence. Both places should bring us to our knees; the one, in utter awe; the other, in utter dependence."

2) God doesn't show up early. Usually He comes in the worst part of the storm when you think you can't take any more - but He will always be on time.

3) God takes us through different storms, revealing more of Himself to us in each one. Otherwise there are aspects of His character, and divine strategies we'd never understand.
4) God's presence alone should be enough for us in any storm. The moment He shows up and says, 'It is I,' our every fear should be calmed.


"Lord, it's difficult to believe and understand that I am often in a wilderness experience because the "Spirit led me" there. I have been reminded today that the wilderness brings me face to face with Your Word and Your sovereignty. I reaffirm my trust in you. Even though there are things I don't understand, when I can't trace Your hand, I will trust Your heart. In Jesus' name, amen!"