Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –
Do you remember this event from the life of Jesus?
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)
Immediately after Jesus identified with sinful humanity through His baptism, the Holy Spirit then led Him to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The Gospel of Mark says it even stronger, saying that the Holy Spirit “drove” Jesus to the wilderness.
As servants of the Lord, we all want to be led by the Holy Spirit. It’s one of our deepest desires. Just remember that the Holy Spirit made lead us to uncomfortable places with many challenges. For some reason, I sometimes think that if I’m really led by the Spirit, life will be a constant progress from one happy experience to another. Matthew 4:1 reminds us that the Holy Spirit has a purpose even in the challenges we face.
This was a remarkable contrast between the “then” connected to the glory of Jesus’ baptism and the “now” of His challenge in the wilderness.
Then, the cool waters of the Jordan; now the barren wilderness.
Then, the big crowds; now solitude and silence.
Then, the Spirit rested like a dove; now the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.
Then, the voice of the Father calling Him “Beloved Son”; now the hiss of Satan the tempter.
Then, anointed; now attacked.
Then, the water of baptism; now the fire of temptation.
Then, the heavens were opened; now it seemed that hell was open wide.
So, in the challenges you face right now – if the Holy Spirit has led or even driven you to them, then God will use them for good. Don’t lose heart. Don’t be afraid of the circumstances; if God is for you, who can be against you?
You don’t need circumstances on your side; you need God’s victory, and it is found in Jesus Christ. Remember that Adam failed in a beautiful garden and Jesus was victorious in a barren wilderness.
The same Jesus has filled you, called you, anointed you, and sent you the Holy Spirit – even if now it feels like you are in the wilderness.
Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik