Path Through the Wilderness

Everyone was going to be punished because Adam sinned. But because of the good thing that Christ has done, God accepts us and gives us the gift of life. Adam disobeyed God and caused many others to be sinners. But Jesus obeyed him and will make many people acceptable to God.

The Law came, so that the full power of sin could be seen. Yet where sin was powerful, God’s kindness was even more powerful.                             Romans 5:18-20 (CEV)

This has been a week where God is showing me the many ways He loves and cares for me. And I am realizing how oblivious I am to most of that extraordinary and extravagant love.

In Luke’s gospel, I read the account of Jesus in the wilderness . For forty days Jesus does not eat or drink. Have you ever fasted for one day? A person might be feeling weak and tired after forty days. What was Jesus doing out in the wilderness? He had just been baptized. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus told John the Baptist that “we should do this” (Matthew 3). He aligns Himself with us from the beginning of His ministry. So what does Jesus’ time in the wilderness have to do with us?

I believe that Jesus goes out there to find Satan and put him on notice. Luke 4 says that Jesus did not just wander out into the wilderness. He went there led by God’s Spirit. It was a deliberate journey. Satan had been “messing with” God’s children since his devious mission against Adam and Eve. Generations had passed and he continued to tempt and accuse God’s children. Jesus came to bring a message not only to God’s children – but to our enemy as well.

We have all had wilderness experiences. It isn’t about geography.

  • There’s the wilderness of grief. It is lonely and painful. Each person has their own path to walk and there are no shortcuts. The enemy can whisper that the sadness I feel will never leave me. Whether this loss comes because of a death, a broken promise, or the loss of a dream, grief comes with a dark cloud that can have me wandering without direction for a very long time.
  • There’s the wilderness in marriage. There are times in any human relationship when people struggle. In marriage people grow chronologically and emotionally, changing as they live. These changes can produce difficulties in communication and common goals. The husband and wife can certainly feel they are going through wilderness experiences.
  • There’s the spiritual wilderness. These could be described much like the marriage difficulties because it is about a relationship. My relationship with Jesus is alive and so that means it grows and changes. There are times when communication with God is – difficult. I don’t want to talk. Or I can’t hear Him.

Jesus went into the wilderness to confront Satan. And He went to show us how to get through the wilderness despite Satan. James said that We are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us(James 1:14). Say that I am grieving the loss of my son and during that time I decide to have a glass of wine at night to help me sleep. Then its two glasses because I had an especially rough day. Then it’s a rum and coke on the two month anniversary of my son’s death. Soon I am wandering around in a wilderness that can only be tolerated with alcohol. I am trapped. A wilderness can weaken me and have me thinking things I would not usually be thinking.

Jesus was tired and hungry from battling Satan for forty days. Luke 4:2 says that. Jesus wasn’t tempted just three times, spaced out over forty days. It was a continuous battle. Ever had seasons like that when you felt under constant, ongoing attack?

What was Jesus’ strategy that ended in victory? He stood firm on the Truth that He knew. “It is written…”. That is the sword of God’s word that cut Satan off at the knees. Everything I need for survival is in God’s Handbook, the Bible. It is so important to know God’s Word. It is where I will learn who He is and how He acts and what He desires in our relationship. It is the foundation for knowing His love for me. It is the glue that will show me how to trust God.

Jesus said that in this world I will have trouble but know that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). I follow His example by standing on God’s promises written in His Word. I overcome Satan as others have before me because of Jesus’ blood sacrifice, the testimony of Jesus in my life, and I choose to give away my life, even to death. And there’s the ultimate victory in any wilderness.


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