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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Developed in the Desert

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness" (Luke 4:1).

Sometimes I really find Christians a humorous lot!  Yes, I place myself in the midst of that generalization.  I think of some of the things that we think, say, and do, all in the "name of" or for the "glory of."  We believe gluttony is wrong, so we don't do that.  Of course, we are of no shortage for church dinners where we eat more than our fair share.  But it's not gluttony.  It's "fellowship."  And, we believe gossip is a sin and would never get caught up into something so destructively evil.  But, we don't mind sharing everyone's business with everyone else.  But, it's not gossip.  We call it "sharing the truth in love."  Or, better yet, "prayer requests!"  And of course, one of our most popular one, is how we love to "rebuke the devil" over everything in our lives that is not in line with our preference, comfort, or desires.  The truth that we have to allow God to speak into the depths of our shallow understanding is that it's not always the devil.

Jesus proves in Luke 4:1 that everyone faces a desert season in their lives.  Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness - a place that was desolate, deserted, and solitary.  It was dry and it was lonely.  Jesus wasn't being punished, for He was the One who was without sin and knew no sin.  Yet, He was being led into a season of testing.  His response in the midst of this testing would be the supreme example to the world.

It wasn't the devil that initiated this season of struggle.  It was the Holy Spirit.  God had a plan, but the humanity of Jesus needed to be tested so the plan of God could be promoted.  It was during this season that He faced the poster child or evil, Satan, for forty days, though we are only given record of three temptations.  Each time, Jesus responds by quoting the Truth of God's Word, and when it was all said and done, the evil one left, and the angels ministered to Him.  The Spirit had shown Him the way there, supplied Him with all He needed, and sustained  Him.

You face testing in your life.  It's a given.  It is for a lifetime.  Testing is not just for punishment.  It is also for promotion.  If God's desire for your life is to take you beyond where you are, then you must be prepared for testing.  Don't fight it.  Embrace it.  Depend upon Him through the process, and He will lead you into the place of victory that is only possible by being led to and through the desert.  The desert is not meant to demote you.  It's to develop you!

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