With God at Your Side!
Right after Jesus is anointed by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted alone. At some point in our faith, all of us will find ourselves there. The wilderness can be that place when you’ve been literally devastated physically, emotionally, or materially. It can also be that place where you just feel lost, uncertain, or confused. And for others, it’s that place where you feel empty, hungry, and dissatisfied with life.
But the wilderness is also that place where God takes you to be alone with Him. It’s the place where there’s no one or nothing that can help you fix your problems, and so it also becomes the place where you’re tempted to compromise, disbelieve, and to sin. To try to solve your problems apart from God. And that’s where doubt comes in.
When you doubt who God says you are, it makes you feel empty, and you begin to believe you need something more than just God’s Word to prove you’re someone. You make the mistake of trying to use your worldly identity to give yourself worth. That’s a losing proposition. Instead, what we need is to be confident in the promise that we’re someone simply because God says we’re someone.
But instead, we’re tempted to devise our own solutions, and abandon God’s instructions. We’re too easily tempted to pervert God’s Word to fit our needs. When God’s way doesn’t agree with ours or it doesn’t work the way we want, we just give the Word a few tweaks and convince ourselves that we really aren’t sinning.
Trying to force God’s hand and manipulate Him into fulfilling His promises in a way that’s twisted for our benefit is a sin. We’re God’s servants, not the other way around. God will provide us with what we truly need and what He wants us to have, but we can’t expect Him to be our personal genie.
Even though Satan tries to break us using temptation, God uses it to build us up. Satan wants to make us weaker and more brittle. But God’s testing tempers us and reinforces our faith. God turns up the heat, not to burn us, but to refine us and make us trust him more.
Jesus went into the wilderness for us. He suffered through temptation so he could help save those tempted in their own wilderness. He understands each and every temptation we’re facing. Don’t fall for that lie of the enemy that Luther talked about. The lie that tells us we have to take matters into our own hands because we can’t trust the love and grace of God.
God sends us to the wilderness because he wants us to trust Him. Our wilderness isn’t a curse. It’s a gift from the Lord to help us know him more, depend on him more, and serve Him more. So, prepare to face the enemy…with God at your side!
Good Shepherd Lutheran
With God at Your Side!