The wilderness seasons of our lives can be filled with the largest of temptations and some of the most difficult trials. Along with those, it affords the most barren landscape and may even make us feel “fruitless” in our walk with Jesus for a time. Yet it is there that our biggest battles may be fought and won; our greatest growth and maturity may be obtained in those desert places.
When Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness and then came up out of the water to that glorious moment where the God the Father and God the Holy Spirit acknowledged God the Son, He was straightaway led into the wilderness. By the Holy Spirit. Meaning He was exactly where He was supposed to be. This time of testing in the wilderness was God’s will for Him.
You and I, in our bleakest moments of testing, may be exactly where we are supposed to be~even though we may want to wrestle out of it however we can. Those are the places where we need to just sit patiently under what God is doing, cry out to Him, and cling to Him~until the calamity passes by. Now Jesus was led to the wilderness for the purpose of being tempted. God does not tempt us, satan does. God gives us an out when we are tempted (see 1 Corinthians 10:13) and the strength to bear up under it. Yet we know from other Scriptures (namely Job) that God can allow satan access to us (though never beyond what we can bear).
So here we find our Savior. He is facing His foremost enemy being not only fully God, but fully man. Tired, hungry, dirty…..He had been in the wilderness for 40 days when His tempter came to Him at His weakest moment. What struck me differently yesterday were these words which satan mentioned before the first two temptations he had schemed for our Friend.
“If You are the Son of God…..”
This is the first of the temptations. Not, “command these stones to become bread,” but
“Are you really who God says you are?”
I wonder how many times we have given in to the temptation of the enemy in this area? How much fear and depression we have sat under…..because our minds gave just an inch of credence to one of these doubts?
Are you really forgiven?
Are you really saved?
Is your past really covered?
Is God’s grace really limitless for the repentant?
Are you really God’s child?
Do you really bring God pleasure?
These questions are at the root of who we are. If we are really saved and have confessed with our mouths that we need the sacrifice of Jesus to cover our sin~then we really are forgiven. 100%. Now and forever. Sins we committed 30 years ago and sins we will commit 30 years from now are all covered by His blood. Our account was paid in full, once on that cross, and for all time.
When we respond to God’s Word in faith, He is pleased with us. Period. Believe it until you feel it.
Believers in Jesus are adopted into God’s forever family.
“But as many as received Him (Jesus),
to them He gave the right to become children of God,
even to those who believe in His name…” John 1:12
What doubt has the enemy thrown into your mind? That you are not really loved by God? That the sin you committed just this morning isn’t covered again by His grace even though you have repented? He desires truth and holiness in our inmost parts and the discipline that we receive for our sin is not His eternal displeasure~it is His Fatherly love that chastens us to walk the narrow path of righteousness. Who you are is not at stake, the intimate fellowship with Jesus is.
Maybe you feel that you are not really His child though you have put your faith in Jesus over and over. It is only His Word that stands firm in the heavens and will never change. And His Word says you are saved. You are His child. The only “work” you have to do to gain this spot in heaven is believe. Simple as that.
Our enemy is deceitful. He can put our souls (our thoughts and emotions) in hell by trying to get us to doubt the very truths of who we are in Christ.
A Royal Priesthood
Jesus’ brothers and sisters
The apple of His eye
So when the enemy comes at you saying, “If you are…” You get the Word of God as your sword and say, “No devil. I am…”