Personal Devotions: Wilderness Protocol

Luke 4

The Temptation of Jesus

1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’[a]

5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”

8Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[b]

9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10For it is written:
” ‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]

12Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]

13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

This blog post was started on February 9th, but has been sitting in my Drafts folder for a while.  We’re now in the season of Lent, where traditionally Christians stop and ponder Christ’s sufferings 40 days before the Easter celebrations – where we focus on His death and resurrection.

I find myself wanting to study this portion of Scripture, as I have a profound understanding of how Jesus must feel during this time. This happened directly after he was baptized and after he was publicly filled with the Holy Spirit – as in Luke 3:21-22 and Matthew 3:16-17.  Here is Matthew’s account:

16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

In the next chapter in both books he is driven into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted.  Now, what are the nature of his temptations?  Normally, it is portrayed that Jesus was in the wilderness and had Satan come to him in bodily form so that he could tempt Jesus – I guess I always had that in my mind based on the amount of accounts I read about this.

But what if it was more natural? I mean, no ethereal spirits materializing, no flashing lights …. just a man trying to do God’s will, and being attacked by thoughts? Still Satan attacking, don’t get me wrong, but attacking Jesus the same way he usually attacks us – by planting thoughts directly into his mind.  How would it look then?

A hungry man, who suddenly gets the thought of using the anointing of God to do something supernatural for his own benefit.  Turn stones into bread.  Ok. That’s powerful, right?  Jump off a building?  Ok no normal (or sane) man would have that as a temptation…. but this isn’t any normal man. This is Jesus.


But take it out of the story context.  I am in the same position – I’ve been asked to stay away from ministry, while I get my foundations strengthened.  God has endorsed the position of the assembly by supernaturally revealing through his word that I should stay hidden and build up my foundations.  But yet the temptation to use the anointing God gave me is still there.  As I told someone recently, praying for people is like breathing for me.  And the temptation to do what God has called me to is there every time a need presents itself in someone who wants prayer, someone who evidently wants deliverance …

I remember this Scripture because, when asking for prayer from one of my friends, he mentioned this phrase in his prayer: “God, help; him resist the temptation to turn stones into bread….”

It hit me.  God has asked me to hide away, to build my foundations.  And yet, here I am, wanting to use the anointing on my life for what?  Personal gain?  Ego building?  Fame?  Isn’t this the same thing Jesus struggled with?

Every time someone gets helped they heap praise on the one who helped them.  Is that my level of personal gain?

Every time someone is in need, I want to assist, like if God needs me to do this.  Isn’t that egotistical?

Every time someone is helped, they want to go and tell what Jesus has done, and how I was the one that God used. Am I seeking to build my own kingdom? Am I seeking fame?

As I ponder these questions, I struggle, but I will continue to fight my temptations.  I want to be in a position like Jesus, who fought the enemy with the Word until he was released to minister.  I heard a preacher say that Jesus, when he at first refused to help his mother at the wedding in Cana, was exercising great patience, because he was not blowing his own horn, but waiting for his Father to endorse him.

The end result of waiting for the Lord’s timing is in the end of the passage we started with – Luke 4:14:

14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

May I have the same patience, and continue to fight the temptation to push myself forward.  Father, where I have  failed, forgive me.  Help me.  I want to be attuned to your timing.  I do not want to false-start at the beginning of this race, and thus be disqualified.  May the Word sustain me.   AMEN.


2 Responses

  1. Are you sure you aren’t reading my thoughts today? 🙂 I struggle so with being known. I almost didn’t set up a blog for that reason yet pridefully I wanted to be known! Affrimation is my love language so I have to keep my self (and my thought life) in check constantly! I will be coming back to this post! Thank you for your words.

    • Well, I’m glad they helped you! I’ll need to come back to my post too … Affirmation is definitely one of my primary love languages. Gotta do the online Love Languages test I found recently to find out the others again….. but I know Affirmation and Physical Touch are way up there 🙂

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