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February 27, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.”—Mark 1:12–13 (NIV)
Life is often described to be like a rollercoaster. There are ups and there are downs. Numerous song lyrics come to mind, as I’m sure they do for you as well, which only goes to show there must be some validity to the comparison.
The truth is, life really is like a rollercoaster! You win some, and you lose some. You climb mountains just to come right back down. You rise sometimes and you fall sometimes. You’re probably wondering, though, what this has to do with anything. Well, I can’t wait to tell you!
This pattern is not only seen in our physical life, but it’s also seen in our spiritual life! Today’s Scripture comes directly after the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. In this beautiful and holy moment, Jesus sees the heavens tear open and the Holy Spirit descend on Him like a dove. He then hears His Father’s voice declare His loving approval and affirmation of His identity. This would most certainly be considered a “spiritual high.” Yet immediately after, Jesus is faced with a huge trial! He’s led by the Holy Spirit to the wilderness where He didn’t eat for forty days and endured several temptations from Satan.
It’s important to recognize that, although life is certainly like a rollercoaster, the creator and the director of the ride is our El Emunah—our faithful God! Therefore, although He may bring us to some low points and lead us to places where we’ll be tempted, He’ll never leave us, He’ll always fight for and with us, and He’ll always remain faithful to His name!
We see this in the ways Jesus was able to survive the forty days in the wilderness, combat Satan’s lies with truth, and receive assistance by heavenly beings. We are guaranteed trouble in this world (John 16:33), especially when we commit ourselves unashamedly and publicly to be a Christ-follower and minister of the gospel. Yet we’re also guaranteed victory in Christ and help in all situations from the Holy Spirit that lives within us as believers!
One of my high school Bible teachers and pastor here at Calvary, Pastor Bill Schott, once said this: “I want Satan to say, ‘Oh no! He’s awake!’ every time I wake up in the morning.” If you want that like Pastor Schott and I do, then you must prepare yourself to face temptation and to face some lows in life for the sake of Christ. But rest assured, because it will be worth it both now and forever!
PAUSE: What lows or temptations are you facing right now that you have not submitted to the Lord?
PRACTICE: Submit to the Lord whatever you are facing or struggling with today. Find truth to combat the lies of the enemy like Jesus did while He was in the desert!
PRAY: Father, I know I will face difficulties and challenges in my faith throughout my life, but I thank You for that because it will strengthen me and bring me closer to You. I surrender the temptations I am facing today and ask that You remind me of Your truth today. Fill me with Your Spirit so I may be a threat to the enemy and a bold ambassador for Your kingdom. Thank You for Your grace and help Lord. Amen.