This story begins by saying, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil” (Matthew 4:1).
Huh? Why will the Spirit do such an awful thing?
Shouldn’t the Spirit be like the Good Shepherd in Psalm 23? “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters” (23:1-2, NKJV).
Here’s the truth: There will be specific seasons in your life when God will not lead you to green pastures or still waters, but into the desert. We Filipinos don’t know much about deserts. (Desserts, yes!) So let me share with you its main description: A desert is a place where there is a lack of resources. No water, no food, no shelter, no comfort.
Have you ever experienced a severe lack?
Perhaps someone you love is sick, or you’re buried in bills, or your visa application was denied, or you just experienced a heartbreak, rejected by the guy you thought was the one—and the pain is unbearable.
And you wonder, “Why am I here? Why am I in the desert? I’m a good person!”
Here’s a possible answer: the Spirit led you there.
God is training you for bigger and better things.
Your pain is preparing you for the purpose of God.
Here’s the truth: Spiritual growth does not happen during good times, but bad times. It’s through crisis that your character is formed.
Let’s move on.
Why Forty Days?
The Gospel says, “For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry” (Matthew 4:2).
Why forty? Why not thirteen or eighteen or twenty-five or eighty-seven?
The answer is in the Old Testament. Noah spent forty days and nights in the ark. Moses spent forty days and nights in Sinai. And the Israelites spent forty years in the desert going to the Promised Land.
What’s so special about forty?
Think with me: how long is pregnancy?
Answer: forty weeks.
In the Bible, forty is the very long and difficult process of giving birth to something new.
I repeat: if the Spirit led you to the desert, be ready for something new to happen in your life.
In fact, when Matthew talks about the devil in the desert story, his readers knew he was referring to a passage in Deuteronomy: “Remember that these forty years the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commandments. He humbled you, and in your hunger He gave you manna to eat, which neither you nor your fathers had known, so that you might understand that man does not live on bread alone; but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, italics mine).
Does the last line sound familiar?
It’s the first temptation.
*This excerpt is taken from We Are At War by Bo Sanchez.
Photo from Unsplashed.com
Are You Battle Ready?
Unaware of the inner battle for your heart, mind, and soul? Beware— that’s exactly how the devil wants you to be—unconcerned that there is a foe who prowls about like a roaring lion waiting for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
Yes, the devil is our enemy and he’s all around. Some of us are oblivious about the spiritual war raging in our world. And it’s happening “in here”—in our mind, in our heart, in our soul. Here’s the reality: Every decision you make is a battle in this eternal war between good and evil. One of God’s greatest gifts to you is your free will. Yet your free will is the battleground where good and evil are fighting each other.
Learn how to fight—and win—in this battle:
• Take the three most important steps to fight against the enemy
• Uncover the most powerful way the enemy attacks us
• Understand the lies about superstitions and symbols
• Know the malevolent ways the devil moves in the world
• Use your seven-piece armor from God’s arsenal
Get ready to fight and overcome the enemy, in Jesus’ name!