Before Jesus began His ministry He was lead by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. I am going to go off on a quick tangent before getting into the purpose of today’s devotion, but I believe someone needs to read it.
“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted,” Hebrews 2:18.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin,”
The Holy Spirit led Jesus out to be tempted and tested. Hebrews tells us that it is because of His trial and resistance He is able to minister to those going through trials. If you find yourself in a time of trial or you are looking back on trial with confusion even perhaps anger, I am here to tell you today the trail is not in vain. Some of these trials might have been spirit led because He needed to help cut away something or help you grow to a new place. Some trials maybe because of the evil in the world and some trials might be a little of both, but all have a purpose. These trials are your testimony and are unique to you and your ministry. Use these scars to show others it is possible to make it out strong with Christ. You can empathize and minister to people in a unique way that I cannot because of your story. Throw the efforts of the enemy to destroy you back in his face by building others up with your testimony.
“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death,”
There is power in your story, use it!
When the Spirit led Christ out Satan came to Him at the end of His forty days, at Christ weakest point, and tempted Him. Christ responds to the first temptation with scripture. Satan comes with another temptation and with this one he tries to justify it with scripture. You can read about the temptations in more depth in Matthew chapter 4 and Luke chapter 4. When Jesus Christ our example was faced with temptation He quotes the Word of God. God’s word was written for His believers. Christ is reminding himself in the midst of a trial of the commands God has given us. You can make the argument that He is rebutting Satan, which there is a point there. I would say that it was more of an internal aim to draw strength from the word to overcome the temptation. Jesus is not rebuking Satan in the first temptation but leaning into God. The word of God is intended to be your instruction guide and source of hope, not a platform to put others down.
Often the word of God is used to condemn the world. A perfect example would be the Westboro Baptist. The Westboro Baptist picket LGBT parades chanting that God hates them. Not only are they wrong, God does not hate anyone, God hates sin, they are misusing the Word of God. It is more often intended to help cut away the sin in your own life allowing you to be filled with the love of Christ so that the love can overflow to others. You want to change the wickedness of the world? The best way is not condemning but loving. Be filled with Christ love and show that to the world despite your obvious disagreements. That method is radical and has the power to change nations!
The times Christ used the Word to chastise were to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were the ones entrusted to teach the word of God to the people, yet missed the message themselves in pursuit of self-righteousness. There are times we need to use the word to speak the truth in love, but this is in those relationships of accountability.
Another point that I wanted to bring out of Christ temptations was from the second temptation. Satan tries to justify the temptation with scripture. There are many false prophets out there that have twisted the word of God. If you are not rooted in the word, you can be fooled and led astray. It is important to read the Word of God and study it. It is not the easiest task and often at the beginning it is hard to understand, but keep with it. Like in an earlier devotion during week three we need to learn to “study through.” The spirit will begin to reveal God’s love, power, and grace through the word.
Take time to reflect on these questions?
Have you studied bible enough to lean on its commands and promises in the hard times?
On the first day of this week you were asked what would be your plan to increase your time in the word. Have you started that plan? If not, why not? What is stopping you? Get in the word there are blessing and a whole new life waiting for you!