How blessed.. the one that can watch the dried brook and trust in God’s unfailing faithfulness; the one that holds an empty cruise of oil and yet believes in God’s provision; the one that stands by the Red Sea’s raging waters and expects his deliverance; the one whose barren womb can spring forth with life, by faith – the one who amidst the flooding tsunamis of life, can simply rest in His love. How blessed the one that is not living at crossed purposes with the purpose of God.
God uses all life’s circumstances, including years of carnality, to perfect His saints. Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matt.4:1 But He says to us, through the apostle Paul: My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
The Lord was led to the wilderness immediately after the glories of His baptism.. after the wonderful experience of the Holy Spirit descending on the ‘Beloved Son’. But then immediately followed the terrible experience of the wilderness testings. Spiritual privileges do not exempt us from the fiery trials. It is often at the height of the mountain top, that the vast wilderness looms before. Too frequently a period of blessedness transforms into a long season of wretchedness. Following a time of tender intimacy and gracious communion with God.. a time that has been spent hidden behind the closed portals of His love, the door is flung open to the enemy’s most fiery trials and evil suggestions.
What is it that ignites Satan’s wrath against a believer? It is not the lukewarm believers, who have responded to the entreaties of the world. It is not the carnal Christian, that has been enticed back into fleshly pursuits.. for they have already been seduced by the world and lured by Satan’s wiles. It is those that seek to be faithfully obedient to the point of death.. they are ones who are the butt of His vicious and prolonged attacks.
Blessed is the man who endures Satan’s temptation. Blessed is the man who endures God’s testings – (for the temptations of Satan are used by God in His child training). So blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
An old writer wrote these wise words:- All the while our Saviour lay in His ‘father’s’ shop and meddled only with the carpentry tools, the devil troubled Him not. Now that He is to enter more publicly upon His mediator-ship, the tempter pierces His tender soul with many sorrows.. by solicitation to sin.
And it is so with us. As long as we move in the quiet backwaters he does not trouble himself with us. But as we rise to new consecration and service.. as we seek to “be holy for I am holy,” Satan pounces on his prey seeking our destruction. So be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1Pet.5:8
Remember as you face your own fiery trials.. that new power came to the Lord through His conflicts. His life was also developed and honed and made perfect through suffering. We read that: He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. It is not God that places temptation in the lives of believers but the enemy. God cannot be tempted with evil neither does He tempt any man. James 1:3, but God permits the tempter’s trials to beat us sorely as He did with His beloved Son – for Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
The Lord’s trials were needful to demonstrate the qualities of the second Adam: for being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. Christ’s testings were designed so that He, as our High Priest could empathise and succour – for we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Heb.4:15 Sometimes His temptations came through His earthy relatives. Ofttimes His trials came though the ones He loved the best. Get thee behind me Satan, He cried to His dearly beloved Peter. And yet to this same staunch and dedicated servant, He gave His reassurances.. Satan has desired to sift you as wheat but I have prayed for you that your faith fails not.” Luke 22:31
Assaults were indeed made on our Lord’s physical needs through the taunting:- If you are the Son of God turn these stones into bread, and satiate your hunger. But the Lord had nourishment that the tempter could never understand:- My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. John 4:34. But assault after assault was made upon His faith and His obedience… sometimes through the direct taunts and attacks of the tempter and sometimes subtle suggestions of family and His dearly loved friends… to leave His path of total dependence on the Father. Sometimes through the persistent criticism and accusations of religious leaders – whose hearts were set to discredit and denounce Him.
We all face some of the most trying and testing days ahead – as the world crashes. Areas of testings that once seemed remote, will increasingly knock on your door. Satan knows His time is short and seems to be multiplying his attacks on the saints. He seeks through whatever means to shipwreck the faith of true believers. He searches out areas of greatest vulnerabilities, and chips away in his vile manner. But the Lord continues to pray for all His disciples:- I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail. Let us keep the faith and not waver in our trust in our great and mighty God. Let us run the race set before us with patient endurance: looking to Jesus.
God’s plans and purposes for humanity are continuing to be played out. God is not mocked and His purpose for your life will reach its goal. And this is the will and the purpose of God:- even Your sanctification. 1 Thes.4:3 This is the will, of God concerning you that in everything give thanks 1Thes.5:18 This is the purpose of God.. that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent. John 17:3
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