like Jesus in the wilderness

Overcoming Trials Like Jesus in the Wilderness

This morning, I was meditating on the temptation of Christ in the wilderness right before the beginning of His public ministry and a few verses stood out :

Luke 1:1 Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness

Luke1:5 Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world

Luke 1:9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem

What interested me was how could the devil take Jesus when He was already full of the Holy Spirit. To understand this, we will first have to decode the meaning of temptation.

What is Temptation?

Unlike the general assumption of a woman scantily clad (though that could be a temptation for many), any desire that presents itself at the wrong place and at the wrong time is a temptation.

This could be as simple as taking a much-needed nap during office hours (desire for rest) or lusting for a woman/man while waiting on God to show the right one (desire to marry).

The thing about temptation and why they are so tempting is they often seem reasonable and directly driven by a justified desire.

You can’t be tempted by what you have no desire for.

And the enemy knows that.

Take the case of Saul, who was tempted to keep his good name with the people by offering a strange fire to God when Samuel showed up late. (1 Samuel 13:8-9)

Or the classic case of David who not only committed adultery but even plotted and executed the murder of an innocent just because of being on the terrace, at a time when kings normally go out to war! (2 Samuel 11:1)

Can you see the principle at work here?

Your heart’s desire when presented to you at the wrong place and at the wrong time= TEMPTATION

But then why was Jesus tempted when He was led to the wilderness by the Holy Spirit? (Luke 4:1)

This is where it gets really interesting.

Qarah– Being at the Right Place, Right Time

The first mention of “qarah” is in Genesis 24, when Abraham’s unnamed servant sets out on a mission to get a wife for his master’s son Isaac from amongst Abraham’s people (Genesis 24:4)

Even before the servant set eyes on the potential bride, he prayed to God, ” Please give me success today and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham.” The word success here is “qarah” in Hebrew which means being at the right place, at the right time.1

No sooner had the servant finished his prayer, that he encountered Rebekah and the rest is history (it literally is, cause Jacob a.k.a Israel was born of her).

We can have the same qarah every day when we walk in the Word of God and are led by the Holy Spirit.

How do I know this?

Look what the servant had before he set out to perform his master’s desire- He had his Word (Genesis 24:7 He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son.)

By faith, Abraham had already sent forth the angel (the Word), and through prayer, the servant had sought divine guidance (the Spirit)!

Like Jesus in the Wilderness

Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness wasn’t a chance occurrence. He was meant to be there. He was led to be there by the Holy Spirit and even before he set foot in the wilderness, He had the Word of His Father spoken over Him:

“You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” (Luke 3:22)

Jesus went forth into the wilderness, with the Word and was led by the Spirit!

He could overcome the temptation cause He had the Word and the Spirit that quickens the Word, causing us to remember everything that Our Father has spoken over our lives! (John 14:26)

And so, when the enemy played his pity little games taking Him from one place to another, trying to lure him with desires that drive every human heart (appetite, authority, and applause), Jesus was unfazed!

He couldn’t care less. Who wants a gift from the devil anyway?

Waiting on Him Who is Faithful

To summarize, we can overcome every trial/temptation the world throws at us cause our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, has already overcome the world! (John 16:33)

We are not of the world, but we belong to Him, and the Holy Spirit in us is the irrevocable seal of inheritance, God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance he promised (Ephesians 1:14).

Yes, as humans we have desires and as children of God, our desires are precious to Our Father, who knows the right time and the right place to fulfill them. (Luke 11:11-13)

As we stand on His Word, and His promises and are led by His Spirit, we bring glory to Him.

May we not be weary of waiting, but like Jesus in the wilderness, may His Word be our delight, for as the Psalmist says in Psalms 37:4:

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

May we never forget who we are in Christ, who loved us and washed us in His own blood and made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen! (Revelation 1:5-6)


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