Devotional: Lessons in the Wilderness
Last week I was reading about the time satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Do you know that story? It’s in Matthew chapter four and it’s fascinating. I’ve read it many times over the years, but after walking through a bit of my own wilderness this year it just hits different now. It means more. It feels more powerful. In this story we see how Jesus was put through a time of testing. He was in the wilderness forty days and forty nights, with no food. He was alone and the devil came to Him with three different lies to get Him off course. Satan tried to ruin Jesus’ purpose, but Jesus won. (Matthew 4:1-11)
I’m SO grateful this event is in the Bible. And there are so many lessons we can take from this particular story and apply to our lives. I wrote down a few in my journal:
- The enemy is real and his main purpose is to fill you with doubt, fear, distractions, and anything possible to get you off course.
- If Jesus Christ himself had to walk through the wilderness and withstand attacks of the enemy, then why can’t I?
- God allowed the temptation–this was a test before Jesus could go onto the next chapter of His life.
- God tests those He loves in order to strengthen them and prepare them for the next step.
- The wilderness is where we build character–it’s a refining process.
- This temptation showed that Jesus was human and endured suffering.
- The devil used a combination of real needs (truth) and fear/doubt to create convincing lies to tell Jesus.
- The devil will try to distort anything to lead us to destruction.
- The devil will try to narrate your story for you, but in a way that plants seeds of doubt about God.
- Jesus quoted scripture (the same scripture available to us today!!) to battle the enemy.
- Jesus did not give in–He stood strong.
- After the wilderness, comes the breakthrough!
The devil obviously knew Jesus was something special. He knew this man, Jesus from Nazareth, was going to be the savior of the world. He tried desperately to use lies based in half-truths to block God’s purpose for Jesus’ time on earth.
And He’s doing the exact same thing to us. Satan is trying to block God’s purpose for our lives just like he did for Jesus. The enemy knows you’re something special. He knows how much potential you have to do great things in this world. So He wants to feed you lies and doubts that make you question if God really loves you and knows your name. He delights in filling your thoughts with negativity.
But because Jesus won, we can too. This is spiritual combat. We must know and use scripture like a sword in battle, just like Jesus did. We must depend on God’s strength and not our own to get through the wilderness seasons of life. And when the time of testing eases, we will see the divine opportunity in all of it. We’ll see the battle made us stronger. It gave us purpose. It taught us how to endure.
“A final word: be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the devil. ” Ephesians 6:10