I remember a time when I prayed and prayed for direction, only to feel certain that I was being led down a specific road.
I sought direction. I sought God through his word, but when I went down that road, things started going wrong.
While I had prayed God would provide; there was no money.
While I prayed God would make things succeed; there was no success.
While I prayed God would bring me through; it seemed God was stopping me.
With everything going wrong, I was tempted to wonder what was wrong with God. I was tempted to wonder why he had abandoned me to my fears.
Faced with doubts, I nearly embraced them.
What kind of God brings you to a scary, desolate land?
He brought me after I honestly asked, prayed and knocked.
He brought me after I honestly called out.
He brought me after I honestly sought Him.
Why would God guide me into pain? Into suffering?
But, much like me, there was another, who was led into temptation.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Mt. 4:1)
Can you imagine that the Spirit led Jesus into temptation?
That the Spirit led Jesus into a place where he didn't eat for 40 days, a place where he was "with the wild beasts" (Mark 1:13) and a place where he had to stand up against the ultimate accuser seemingly alone?
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. (Heb. 4:15)
His identity was questioned.
His authority was scrutinized.
His power was negated.
His trust in the Father was tested.
Yet, he did not sin.
He combatted every lie, with truth. He combatted every temptation with the active Word of God. He fought every blaspheme with courage.
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth …” (John 16:13)
Jesus spoke all truth. Guided by the Spirit, he was a truth breather, a temptation extinguisher and a loved child of his most high King.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. (Romans 8:14)
He knew his place.
Truth led him to the wilderness - and truth would bring him through.
We are under the authority of our Father, the Spirit and the Son. We are loved. Adored. Led.
But, our power always comes from remembering who is in charge, not who tries to be.
Our power comes from the one who is the definition of good not the tempter of bad.
Our power is found in knowing who is for us, not listening to who is against us.
Jesus' final words to the devil were, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ (Mt. 4:10).
No matter what comes against, despite how "in God's will" we feel, we are to know our role is to worship God - always. To lift him high- forever. And to trust him - in all things. To serve him - above all.
Because we can trust - if we truly have sought the will of God through the Word of God - that the we have been led to this precise place, for a precise purpose - in order that we may be shaped into Christ's image with precision.
In this, fears, doubts and sin fall by the wayside.
As we combat temptation, we grow in faith.
As we fight the devil, we submit to God.
As we face our fears, we become fearless.
As stand alone, we seek God and we see him.
As we speak truth, we see the truth.
When we are courageous in the face of fear, bold in the face of fire, we do come out the other side - and we come out more faithful.
The Spirit led us there for a reason.
Did you know that Jesus grew during this time of suffering too?
Even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. (Heb. 5:8)
Make no doubt about it, the Spirit always has a purpose when he leads.
While we can't always say what it is, or even question why it is, we can know that likely we are being built up through the trials to endure the big purposes the Lord has prepared for us in advance (example: Jesus on the cross).
We are being built up, so we won't be torn down. We are being built up, to be strong. We are being built up, to endure the fires of life.
The question is - will we trust God or will we allow ourselves to fall into temptation?