And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry… And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:1-2, 13)
The Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The Holy Spirit knew exactly why He had led Jesus there and it was in the Father’s will that Jesus be equipped through this time of testing.
We know that with calling into ministry work, there is going to be times of trial and equipping. The purpose here we can see was equipping Jesus for His ministry, but the purpose for the specific things we go through isn’t always easy to see while we’re in it. The thing is, if we hide God’s word in our hearts and remain steadfast in the trial, trusting we are indeed being refined through it, it will have an outcome for our good and be one step closer in the process of being formed into the image of Jesus Christ.
During this encounter in the wilderness, Jesus was tried physically, mentally, and spiritually, and was triumphant after resisting the devil. The book of James hadn’t been written yet, but this doesn’t change the truth that if you resist the devil, he will flee from you. Jesus proved that and serves as an example of that to us.
The Devil in is in the Details
We can’t ignore the fact though that the devil had departed from Him until an opportune time. This means that just because Jesus had victory in this particular time of tempting, didn’t mean satan was just giving up and going to leave Him alone now. The enemy is like a lion seeking whom to devour, and like a predator, they seek out prey who are weak, isolated, young (physically or spiritually speaking), or hurt. Jesus in that time was weak from hunger and even though it was for a spiritually good reason, He was also isolated as He fasted and satan took that opportunity to pounce and attempt to devour.
What State Are You In?
Knowing that the enemy goes after those who are weak, isolated, young, and/or hurt, where does that leave you?
- Are you young in the Lord?
- Are you in a state of weakness or hurting physically or emotionally?
- Have you knowingly or even unconsciously isolated yourself from others, either in person or by keeping them at arms length from having a real relationship with you?
Coming from a place of being physically and emotionally hurting, I understand the desire to withdraw and wait for better days to come. But I can also tell you from experience that unless I’m withdrawing for a period of time to fast or setting aside a set period to focus on time with God, isolating doesn’t yield good things. The times where I have fallen into self-isolation are the times when the enemy has attacked from every angle and been all up in my face and it is awful! It’s hard to know top from bottom and side to side when he’s hurling constant attacks, and the way to get out of it and, better yet, prevent it, is being in the Word and letting other believers come alongside you and bear your burdens with you the way God intended His Church to.
Have Victory as a Human
We are all human, but so was Jesus and He had victory. If you are in Jesus, you can have victory too, but remember that our human limitations are not the issue, it’s when we embrace our flesh nature and desire that we find ourselves in trouble.
- It’s ok to be weak but don’t be afraid to boast in your weakness because His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- It’s ok to isolate for small periods of time to fast and spend dedicated time with God the way Jesus did, but don’t neglect to allow others in (Matthew 6; Galatians 6:2)
- It’s ok if you’re young, physically and/or spiritually, but don’t be afraid to cozy up in the wings of Jesus (Luke 13:34)
- It’s ok to feel hurt, those feelings need to be felt, but don’t wallow in your hurt – work through it, process it, and heal from it (Ecclesiastes 3:4; Psalm 147:3)
Ultimately Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered, and we can’t expect our learning process to be any different. However, we also can expect to have victory in Jesus and through Him because with God all things are possible. Whatever state you find yourself in right now, remember that the Holy Spirit is leading you with a purpose. So cling to Jesus, allow others to help you, and walk in victory when the enemy tempts you by resisting him until he flees from you! Be a mighty child of God, my friend!