Friday, June 3, 2011

We All Have Wilderness Moments

You know, it has been a while since my last blog entry, but it has not been because of a lack of things to write about.  It has been due to lack of dedication and just the moments of life.  I think that moment has been one in the "wilderness" for me.

"What is this", you may be asking.  Well, I would like to define it as a time where we go through different parts of our lives led by the Holy Spirit, but "seemingly" out of the presence of God the Father.  I put the word seemingly in quotes because we know that God never leaves or forsakes us (see Deuteronomy 31:5-6).  However, it is a time where we seem to draw away from everyone.  It is a time where sometimes we exert ourselves physically and we can get lost spiritually if we aren't careful.   It can be a time of reflection and a time of growth.  Let's look at Luke 4:1-13.

(1) Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, (2) where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. (3) The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” (4) Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’[b]” (5) The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. (6) And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. (7) If you worship me, it will all be yours.” (8) Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[c]” (9) The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. (10) For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; (11) they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]” (12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]” (13) When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

The above verses show a time when Jesus was alone in the wilderness (as a human, but not in the spirit).  If you noticed, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, but Jesus was tempted all the while by the devil (an evil spirit).  During this time He fasted, but He kept His mind focused and fought the devil with the Word of God.

We know that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.  I think this is pretty obvious.  What may not be obvious are the conditions in which He went into the wilderness. Most of the time we only focus on the temptation part.  We know that Jesus was God in a human body.  He is not like many of us, but He still sweat, hungered, thirsted, and bled just like we do.  So, let's look at a few things.

Jesus, went into the wilderness by Himself. Granted, He was led by the Holy Spirit, He was still alone.  There was no buddy system in his wilderness moment.  At the same time, the devil showed up.  If you have not noticed, it is typically when we are alone that we can either plug into God to the highest degree or we can become distracted by the devil the most.  It is those moments of quietness, that we can be led by the Spirit or we can fall to temptation by the devil.  The question is how grounded are you in the Word to recognize the tricks of the enemy.  If the Spirit is leading you, then follow Him, no matter how difficult a particular moment in your life may seem.

Not only was Jesus alone, but he had been fasting for forty days.   Again, because He lived as a human, He of course hungered.  It is one thing to be alone, but to be alone where there is no food around, most people would go crazy and would eat anything.  This is where you have to be careful, because you could sell you soul to the devil in order to satisfy your flesh. When you are alone, tired and weak, we agree to some of the craziest things without even thinking about it.  Take Jacob and Esau for example.  Esau had been out working all day long in the fields and was dog tired when he got home.  Jacob, who could whip up a mean stew, knew his brother was hungry.  So, when Esau asked him for something to eat, Jacob seized the moment and tricked Esau into giving him his birthright.  Back then, the benefit of the first-born son was a big deal.  He got the birthright which meant there were privileges and/or possessions that he only would received.  Just think.  He gave this up all for a bowl of stew (see Genesis 25:28-32).  In the words of Esau, "Look, I am about to die...What good is the birthright to me?"  It is in our time of weakness that we become the most vulnerable and not being able to check our vulnerabilities can turn our wilderness moment into a lifetime of hell.

The last thing I want to point out is that Jesus recognized who He was.  He knew that He was in a fleshly body, but He also recognized He was the Son of God.  Also, He knew what the Word of God said.  If we recognize who we are and to who we belong, then we can conquer anything.  No devil or demonic spirit can derail us from our walk with the Lord.  Evil can try, but nothing can hold water to Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, and God the Father.

Yes we all have wilderness moments.  After all Jesus had one.  If Jesus had one what makes us think we are exempt from them?  As long as we recognize what we are going through and the potential pitfalls, we'll be alright with our mind on the Spirit who comforts and lead us.  Let no temptation pull your flesh down and let not desire pull you away from that which God has called you.   At some point, the trees will begin to thin and there will be a clearing to which the Son will shine upon your face as you come out of the wilderness.

Be blessed folks and have a good weekend!

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