Posts Tagged ‘desert’

Some times temptations can be blatant and in your face. Temptations can appear wearing masks of clearly identifiable things, but they can also be subtle and harder to spot. Acting independent from the one we are wired to worship can manifest itself in so many ways.

I have two blatant areas of temptation in my life. The first would be listening to music with lyrics that are hard on my heart. I gotta be honest, sometimes Christian music just doesn’t have enough beat for me . The second would be road rage. I seem to have zero ability to muster up patience and encouragement for other drivers. In the car, I have words that dull the blade of the iron that sharpens iron. EEK!

But what about those subtle temptations that go more unnoticed? I have talked about my identified temptations of self-sufficiency and taking my life in my own hands. I have spent too much of my life searching for things that do not satisfy. More often than not I rely on myself as authority, and my pride resembles a desire for glory. This makes for some long seasons in the desert.

The final card the devil plays in this game of poker is more subtle than the other two. The temptation is for Jesus to use other power sources other than God. 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; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

I think that there are subtle ways our culture taps into other forms of power. We are inundated with “self-help”options. We can practice Yoga to help us relax. Zen is used usher us into deep places with in ourselves. We also practice new age aspects of eastern religions to help us experience centering and meditation. These can be subtle ways of providing for ourselves.

Meditation and finding rest are great things, but how we think about these areas matter. Our power source is God. God states, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He also states, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Jesus’ response is so eye opening for me. He responds to the temptation by stating, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” In essence Jesus is saying, “do not ask God to prove himself or put him in a situation where he would have to prove himself.”

The take away from all three of these temptations is that life is not meant to work outside of God. Our constant temptations revolve around the theme of to making life happen on our own terms. These are temptations to keep us stuck in the desert. My hope is that this series has helped call out some areas of nudging God might be doing in you.

I would love to know what blatant and subtle temptations you have!

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I feel like my gifts and talents are being refined every day. Development is so crucial to stepping into any role. The desert is a great time for preparation and development

John Maxwell states that, “the role of the wilderness in the prepartion for a leader cannot be overemphasied.” The desert is a place where transformation and development happens. When we make the choice to step out of our every day routine and into a place of surrender, change will happen. In order to do anything well, I think development needs to take place.

The second temptation in the devil’s deck was challenging Jesus to go outside of God for his glory, power, and authority. The devil led Jesus up to a high place and showed him, “all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And 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. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”

The devil challenges Jesus in core areas of what he is about to do. He challenges Jesus by first showing him the world. The world is who Jesus was here to die for. I think the devil’s first mistake was presenting the wrong perspective “giving.” Jesus would go on later to make light of this temptation by saying, “whoever will lose his life for my sake, will gain it.”

The devil also offered authority and glory in exchange for worship. I see clear examples of this temptation in my life as well as the culture we live in. The devil is presenting some pretty strong false advertising. We are all wired, made, and created to worship. If we don’t worship God, we WILL worship someone or something else. This also includes the temptation to worship ourselves.

All too often God is redirecting me back on the path of surrendering glory and worship to him. I tend to fail quite a bit when I choose not to surrender authority to him. Hoarding authority and glory for myself reflects acting out of self-sufficiency, self-protection, playing savior to someone else, satisfying my own needs/wants, stepping up to satisfy someone else’s needs/wants, and being filled with pride.

Jesus knew that all of authority and glory come out of worshiping the father. He knew that authority and glory were not dependant on his gifts, but dependant on who the father is.

How often do I look at the tangible? I have to ask myself the question, am I tempted by the false splendor of this world? Do I believe God to be the authority and glory my life depends on? Do I depend on my own gifts and name over his? I wish I could honestly say I respond with the confidence that Jesus did. I cannot. I teeter too often on the side of immediate results or comparing myself to others.

Jesus looks at all that is presented to him and simply states, “it is written: worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” I can almost hear Jesus saying, “next.” Jesus understood that everything he was about was for the worship of the father. All of his gifts and talents were meant to serve the Lord and give him glory.

My heart has some work to do

What are your temptations in the areas of authority, glory, and worship?

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Right before the start of Jesus’ public ministry, the last three years of his life, he was led by the holy spirit into the desert. Jesus had just been baptized by John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit descended down on to Jesus. Then a voice thundered out from the father identifying Jesus as his son.

Amazing events before the desert. I can remember how awesome I felt when I surrendered my heart to Christ as a teenager. I was at a Young Life camp in VA. It was a great risk for my heart to take, being surrounded by others who were contemplating the same decision.

But what about after camp? That was a fearful thought for me. I would return home different then when I left. How does that transition happen? I remember thinking that I wish I had some transformation time. I wish I could’ve had an in-between time to really grasp what had just taken place in my heart. Now I understand a little more the value of the desert.

Before Jesus was to take on the road of dying for our sin, he needed some time. He spent 40 days in the desert. At the end of his time there, the devil approached him with three specific temptations.

The past couple weeks, I have really began looking at the significance of these temptations. There were three major areas where the devil tried to entice Jesus. If these were core areas to attack for Jesus, chances are they would be for me as well.

The first card in the temptation deck was, “if you are the son of God, command this stone to become bread.” This temptation attacks an area of basic need for Jesus. The devil enticed Jesus to go outside of God to meet his needs. The devil was also challenging Jesus to prove his identity. In essence, if Jesus could turn the stone into bread, he would prove his identity and ability to provide for himself. The temptation is to act independently from the father to prove ourselves.

This temptation resonates with me. I have talked about being a self-sufficient person before. I know I can fall short of depending on God to provide for my legitimate needs. In response, I take action for myself. I can struggle with thinking that I have to make things happen for myself. Sometimes my identity can get wrapped up in my actions.

Jesus did not cave. He remembered his past 29 years and 39 days of believing in the father. Jesus rested in his identity being in the father. He remembered those sweet words of, “this is my son, in whom I am well pleased.” He looked at the devil and stated his father’s words, “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word from the mouth of God.

I want to rest secure in my identity in Christ. For the father says to us all, “you are my beloved.” That never changes. I am praying through the ways I can entrust myself more to Him to meet my needs. I desire to live on every word that comes from the mouth of God. That is the only answer to my legitimate needs. The temptation entices me to being enslaved, but believing in God for my needs leaves me free. I desire to confidently respond to temptation the way Jesus did.

Thank you Jesus for the example!

How are you tempted to provide for yourself?

In what ways are you tempted to prove your identity and worth?

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The desert seems to be a time of significance in peoples lives. Today, the desert is used as a metaphor for experiencing some times of trials, lonliness, or just waiting. The desert is a rough place. The desert is vast, desolate, and quiet. A perfect training ground for solitude.

Lately, I am becoming aware that the desert is a theme for those who are about to begin something. The desert is the pinnacle point for the beginnings of new seasons, or maybe a sign of redirection from something.

An equivalent to the desert might be described as a waiting room. The waiting room enables trails of patience as well as growing in an understanding that our time is not our own. The waiting room is definitely full of time. I work part-time in a doctor’s office, so I get to see firsthand the trails of the waiting room. They should really call it the “impatient room of trials and frustration.” Not to mention the unspoken waiting room of after your name is called.

I digress.

The desert/wilderness has been an essential step for great leaders in the bible. Moses spent significant time in the desert before he led a nation of Israel out of Egypt and into the desert. Israel then spent forty years wandering around the desert before entering the promise land. John the Baptist spent significant time in the wilderness before baptizing. Jesus spent forty days in the desert being tempted before his public ministry began.

The desert is valuable to the life of a believer. The desert is a place where transformation takes place. I have not met anyone who enjoys the desert. Unfortunately, there is no set time for a desert season. This time is unique to you. Annoying Encouraging right?

For me, the deserts have been times of character building and preparing for something new to come. The desert is a place of quiet for me. I am not quieted easily. For me, the desert is a place of learning how to surrender.

The desert, in its desolation, comes with temptations. Jesus experienced three specfic areas of temptation in his desert time. This week I want to look at those three areas of temptation. If they were temptations for Jesus, then maybe they have significance for my life as well. So if his temptations have something to do with me, then maybe his responses do to?

Would love to hear your thoughts on the desert times as well as temptations.

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