Into the Woods
Luke 4:1-2 – Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was temptedby the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
What song is first in my queue right now? The O. C. Supertones “The Wilderness.” Find it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnSbBKj-wUA
That is the place that I am in right now, the wilderness.
So in the Bible, Jesus went off to be alone in the wilderness of Judea. Below are a few pictures of what this place looked like.
If you look at the pictures above, you will notice that this wilderness is not what we would think of the wilderness in America. We think of a forest. We think of lush overgrowth that blocks our view of any way out. Here, you can see the way out. It is all around you. Unfortunately it is so vast and dead that you just can’t get there.
Romans 8:26 – In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Jesus went there upon being led by the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1). Many people believe that Jesus allowed Himself to go to the wilderness simply to be tested by Satan to prove His victory over him. That could very well be. We know that Satan tempted Jesus while He was in the wilderness. But I believe it goes much deeper than that.
While Jesus was in the wilderness and being tempted, He had only one option, relying on the Holy Spirit for power. Jesus did not try to face Satan alone. He did so “full of the Holy Spirit” as Luke says. Jesus went into the wilderness to calibrate Himself with His Father’s will. This meant that Jesus needed to be fully reliant on the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit during this time in order to be victorious.
Almost all Christians believe that Jesus claimed His domination of death and the power of the grave when He ascended into heaven. But something very special happened in the wilderness. Jesus overcame sin and temptation and defeated Satan. It is at this point that Satan gets scared. The evil one realizes he has lost. When Jesus is led by the power of the Holy Spirit and calibrated to His Father’s will, then evil cannot prevail.
James 4:6 – But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
And this is why we as humans need to enter into the wilderness from time to time. The Lord Jesus gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to bring us through our weaknesses. Romans 8:26 explains that.
God gives grace to those who humbly come before Him, in a place of weakness and loneliness. James 4:6 explains that.
The Father is ALWAYS ready to pour out HIS Spirit on us so that we can have the courage and strength to face even the most vicious opponent. He wants us to “fight the good fight of faith” with the power of the Holy Spirit. 1 Timothy 6:12 explains that.
We should be ever ready to willingly enter the wilderness to grow in the faith and grace of Christ. It is not always an easy place to be. It will hurt a lot. And the outcome may not be what you would have desired going in. But ultimately it will bring you face to face with God the Father Himself. Providing for you a means to grow in faith and emerge from the wilderness changed in the Holy Spirit, ready to take on this life even more with the saving message of the Gospel of Christ.
1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.