Numbers 30:1-31:24; Luke 3:29-4:13; Psalms 63:6-11; Proverbs 16:25
NT: “Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone.” So he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “…If you, then, will worship me, all will be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” So he took him to Jerusalem, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here.” …And Jesus answered him, “It is said: Do not test the Lord your God.” After the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.” (Luke 4:1-5, 7-9, 12-13 CSB)
After Jesus was baptized with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan River, He was full of the Spirit and was led by the Spirit. He didn’t go His own direction. He didn’t start following the 7 steps to success. He didn’t start winning friends and influencing people. He allowed the Holy Spirit to lead Him… and the Holy Spirit led Him into the most unlikely place: the wilderness to spend 40 days alone fasting and meditating on the word of God and the God of the word. At the end of those 40 days, when He was especially vulnerable and weak, the devil seized the moment. In the garden of Eden, the devil was successful at tempting the first Adam to sin. This time, surely in the wilderness after no food for 40 days, he could tempt the second Adam to sin. In 1 John 2:16, John explains that all temptation can be reduced down to 3 categories: 1) the lust of the flesh, 2) the lust of the eyes, and 3) the pride of life. The devil hit Jesus with all 3. First he appealed to Jesus fleshly desire for food after not eating for 40 days. Jesus retorted with the word of God. Next, the devil presented the nations of the world before Jesus’ eyes and said all could be His if He would fall down and worship Satan. Again, Jesus retorted with the word of God. Finally, the devil challenged Jesus’ identity by saying Jesus needed to prove who He was… even quoting scripture as leverage. How did Jesus respond? He responded with the word of God. Jesus had the word of God hidden in His heart through memorizing scripture. Each time He was tempted, the Holy Spirit brought to the forefront of His mind the specific scripture that would strengthen Him and combat the enemy. Jesus resisted all of the devil’s temptations by remaining full of the word and the Spirit, and standing on the authority of the word and being led by the Spirit. The same can and should be true of us. When we are led by the Spirit, the Spirit may lead us to some unconventional, challenging, and sometimes dangerous places. Yet, if we submit to the Spirit and the word of God, the Spirit will grace us and empower us to go through those unconventional, challenging, and dangerous places and come out the other side victorious, tested, proven, and beautifully refined.
Proverbs: “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 16:25 CSB)
Life is full of options and choices, but ultimately there are two ways that you can go: the way that seems right to you, or God’s way. Those are the proverbial two paths that diverge in the woods. Well meaning people will say, “follow your heart… be led by your passions… pursue your dreams… say yes to you because you deserve it.” However, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and/or the pride of life – the ways that seem right to us – will lead us into sin, away from true and abundant life, and ultimately to death. The other option is to humble ourselves and submit to God, pursue Him and His desires for us, and allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit as God molds us, shapes us, refines us and works through us in miraculous ways that lift us ever upward and glorify Him.