A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit,
returned from the Jordan and was
led by the Spirit in the desert,
where for forty days he was
tempted by the devil.”
Luke 4:1,2

“When the devil had finished all this tempting,
he left him until an opportune time.
Jesus returned to Galilee in
the power of the Spirit…”
Luke 4:13,14

Jesus had been baptized in the Jordan River by John, and the Spirit had descended on Him.  He was led by the Spirit of God, and full of the Spirit of God.  He then went out into a deserted wasteland, and for almost a month and a half, he experienced loneliness, hunger, thirst, and constant temptation by Satan. 

The devil had been alert to Jesus’ presence since His birth.  He had followed Jesus’ life, and of course, was well aware of John, who declared the coming of the Messiah to all who met him in the desert.  So when Jesus came to be baptized, guess who was there watching.  He was ready when the Messiah, the prophesied One, walked by Himself out into the empty places to pray and gather strength from His Father for the ministry He was about to take up.  Satan knew enough to know that Jesus was human, all human, as well as God in the flesh.  Satan knew Jesus was no robot, no avatar, no droid formed to walk unimpeded and untouched through the world.  God’s enemy knew that Jesus felt and thought and hungered and got tired.  He knew the Christ had to go through everything man experienced, in order to fulfill the Father’s purpose for Him—to become the perfect High Priest—once for all giving Himself in sacrifice for the sins of the world.  So Satan had an opportunity to bring down God’s plan right at the beginning, before it could get started.

The point for us is this.  When we come to Christ in humility and poverty, willing to give up our lives for His, and ready to go to our Gethsemane for the Father, then Satan will find his greatest opportunity to strike.

You see, Satan is alert to our presence, too.  He has followed our lives, and knows when we submit, truly are baptized in the Spirit, truly walk through the Narrow Gate.  He is ready for us as He was ready for the One we love now.  He wants to derail God’s work in us at every opportune time. 

When we are weak and hungry—hungry for food or hungry for significance, or hungry and thirsty for love and attention, or hungry and thirsty for recognition, or hungry and thirsty for possessions or the things of this world—then he will strike.  When we are tired, not only physically, but mentally, and spiritually, having battled our own feelings, our own bodies, our own minds in the heat of the desert experience, then Satan will tempt us. 

When we are lowly, and poor, and forgotten, then our enemy, Christ’s enemy, will come to us and offer us his sweet things, his comforts, his answers.  Because he wants so much to destroy anything good that God is doing.  He hates God, and He hates Christ Jesus, and He hates and wants to destroy that anointing we have from the Holy Spirit to walk in Christ.  It is Satan’s choicest work to woo away the Chosen, and we must always be aware that he will try.

Jesus resisted, though He was led about by Satan, and offered the world.  Jesus Christ led the Resistance, and we must not fail him in our testing.  Christ Himself was tempted, by all the powers of hell, and He stood and refused to give in. 

Note the important result.  Jesus went out into the desert full of the Spirit, and led by the Spirit.  He came back from this intense, painful, and desperate desert experience “in the power of the Spirit” (v.14).  He was ready for the ministry God had prepared for Him.  He was not operating in His own human power, but the Spirit had intensified in Him to the point He was living only for the will of His Father.

In fact, the first thing Jesus did when He came back was to confront the people in His hometown, in the Synagogue where He grew up, and let them know the Truth straight up.  He told them who He was, and predicted that they would not accept Him.  They were so furious they grabbed this hometown boy and as a raging crowd took Him up on a hill to throw Him down from a cliff and kill Him.  But Jesus, empowered by the Spirit now, “walked right through the crowd and went on His way.” (Luke 4:30)

When God gets hold of us, and tells us we must enter the Christ-life fully, and we respond to that call, we will have desert experiences similar to those our Lord Jesus Christ went through.  We must go through them, relying only on the sustenance of the Father through the Spirit of God.  We will be alone, as He was.  As Israel was in the desert for forty years, shedding itself of the old men and women—a whole generation of unbelief and doubt dying out—so we, like Jesus, will be in the desert, shedding ourselves of the old man or woman, losing much unbelief and doubt.  If we submit to God, and don’t listen to Satan’s many temptations, then we will emerge from that desert experience with much more of the Spirit’s power, as Jesus did.

It is absolutely essential for us to realize that it is not our power, and not our sufficiency, and not our strength from that point on.  It is all Christ in us by His Spirit, as it was all the Father in Jesus by His Spirit after Christ’s desert time.

We may go through many of these testings in our lives.  Each time, if we submit, and continue to lose our own lives, we will come back more intensely empowered by the Spirit of God, and less and less attached to this world, and the things of this world.

Make no mistake, brother.  The devil will come around again and again.  He’s looking for that opportune time, as he was with Jesus.  Our deserts, our Gesthemanes, will be many, but God will not leave us alone, but will uphold us as we seek Him.

“But when you are tempted, He will also
provide a way out so that you can
stand up under it.”
1 Cor. 10:13

Let’s follow our Lord Jesus willingly, and not reluctantly.  Let’s be part of the Resistance, willing to give our lives over daily for His sake. 

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,
because when he has stood the test, he will
receive the crown of life that God
has promised to those who love Him.”
James 1:12


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