I find it so interesting that Jesus entered a period of fasting in the desert just after He was declared Son of God and baptized. At His baptism, scripture says there was a voice from heaven that spoke "this is My Son..." and the Holy Spirit landed on Him like a dove (Matthew 3:16-17). Then in Matthew 4:1 we see Jesus going into the desert with the Holy Spirit as His guide.
The thought pops into my head that we must know who we are in Christ in order to survive the desert. We have to understand that God made us, longs to be with us, and did something to guarantee we could be with Him. He bridged the gap of our sins with His Son. He invited us to be adopted into His family as sons and daughters.
When we become aware that we have been grafted into His family, we become committed to the discovery of Who He is and what that means for us. His promises are revealed like treasures. His Word shines like a light to our path. We see His goodness and mercy. We see His plans for us—plans that are full of hope. As our vision becomes clear, we are settled into a deep peace and trust in Him that breaks the power of temptation in the dry places.
If Jesus had to fast in the desert and face the devil, we can probably assess we will too. Life is not guaranteed to hand us lemonade everyday. Sometimes we get tossed the whole lemon. But our Father can turn that sour lemon into sweet lemonade when we partner with Him and submit to His recipe. Knowing you are a daughter (or son) diffuses the temptation to doubt God and His intentions. Knowing He is a good Father snuffs out many of those fiery darts that tempt us to believe otherwise— darts that make us doubt He will provide, protect, and remain our Father.
Isn't it typical of Satan to try to make us doubt our Father? He did it to Adam and Eve in the garden and has been trying ever since to make us doubt God and His promises. He tries to make us think we need to take care of ourselves, provide for ourselves, protect ourselves, promote ourselves, plan our own future.
Knowing our identity and knowing our Father is critical. It is not done in a day. He shows Himself by constantly revealing new facets of His character to us. It is a journey and story of a lifetime. It’s a relationship that lasts. He asks us to let go of our misconceptions and preconceived notions of Who He is and asks us to be in fellowship with Him, so He can show us Who He is.
The good news is Jesus survived the desert and overcame the devil's tempting. He knew Who He was, and He trusted in His Father. Was it easy? I doubt it. Fasting 40 days and then being faced with the tormenter and his aggravating temptations would be a battle. But He had the Holy Spirit and the Word of life inside of Him...and He placed His faith in His Father.
Once Jesus ascended into Heaven, He sent the Spirit to teach and remind us of truth, comfort us, and help us in our journey. The Word is our sword, and the Spirit teaches us to wield it. We must learn to dance with God in such a way that we give God the freedom to be Who He is,and where He can teach us to be who we are meant to be. Then we will be able to stand strong against temptation. We will be able to see the “way of escape” God provides. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Jesus, we need Your Holy Spirit to strengthen and empower us to withstand the temptations that come our way. We need the Spirit to show us the way to go. We need the Word deep in our hearts to keep us from withering in the desert places. We will not trust in ourselves to keep us from falling; we will trust in You. We will depend on You to be our shield and our strong tower. You are so good and so faithful, and we love that You’re our God! You alone are worthy of worship!
Author: Kerri Barfield