17 April 2017
Reading: 1 Samuel 19; 1 Chronicles 7; Psalm 59; Matthew 4
1 Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the Devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he ate nothing and became very hungry. 3 Then the Devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of bread.” 4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:1-4 NLT)
Immediately after the profound experience of his baptism, Jesus faced the test of temptation. He was led by the Holy Spirit into this season of temptation and testing! That really stood out to me. The same Holy Spirit who rested upon him at his baptism led him into the most severe testing and temptation he had ever faced!
I suppose it should be no surprise that times of greatest temptation can follow immediately on the heels of a spiritual high, and that times of greatest testing can follow the richest blessings.
Jesus Christ was fully prepared to face the test – to overcome the temptation. Here’s what you and I can do to prepare for our own seasons of testing and temptation:
• Know God’s Word. It’s not just learning rules, but learning God’s thoughts and values so I can recognize what’s deep-down right from what’s down-right wrong.
• Be Filled With God’s Spirit. It’s not just an experience that gives a “feeling,” it’s being full of God, so there’s not enough room for self and sin. It’s also allowing the Holy Spirit to instruct, direct, and control.
• Practice Spiritual Disciplines. Jesus was fasting to make his spirit God-strong and his flesh weaker. He had for years done the discipline of memorizing Scripture. He had practiced the discipline of solitude. He was ready!
Father, Please help me to be ready for the test of temptation. Jesus faced his Temptation Test for 40 days and overcame. I face my temptation test every day – some days more than others. I want to be ready. I want to overcome and not give in to temptation. Help me to be ready to pass the test. Amen.