Faith · Growth · Holy Spirit · purpose · Spiritual Discipline · Temptation

sometimes… His way is just counterintuitive…

Teaching fourth graders Bible today… we talked about temptation
and Jesus’s bout with it in the wilderness… right after His baptism…

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew 4:1 NIV
I asked the question… Who led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted…?

Not one… but two said… Satan… The devil…

Then I reminded them… Read the Scripture… that’s where you’ll find the answer…

Heads turned down to open books…
In a moment one read… Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted…

Some eyes went wide as they realized…
God led Jesus into the wilderness…
He ordained this time of temptation…
It just seems counterintuitive… that God the Father…
would set His Son up… to be tempted…
But in His sovereignty… that’s what He does…
For Jesus it was a test… proving Himself as the Lamb of God…
sinless… without blemish… able to resist… remain pure…
For us… when He allows temptation in our lives…
leading us… calling us… into the wilderness at times…
it’s an opportunity to build spiritual muscle…

Jesus had a purpose in the desert…
He fasted forty days and forty nights…
practiced a spiritual discipline…

Anytime we enter into a spiritual discipline…
especially fasting… we enter a wilderness…
invite temptation…

Again… it’s purposeful… a time to build spiritual muscle…

Every time we resist temptation… we grow in faith…
strengthen our ability to obey…
Even when we fall to temptation… we learn to recognize it a little sooner when it comes… for us it’s about being transformed spiritually into Christ’s character…
Remember… God’s way is not always what we think it should be…
sometimes… it leads us to difficulties… trials… temptations…
No one undergoing a trial should say,
“I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted
by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone.
But each person is tempted when he is drawn away
and enticed by his own evil desires.
James 1:13-14 HCSB
So the next time you face temptation…
remember… in His sovereignty… He allowed it…
but at the heart of each temptation…are your own evil desires…
Desires that need to be identified… and eliminated…
Temptation… a time for spiritual purification… when we stand firm and resist…
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 ESV
Trust Him with the temptations He allows in your life…
it’s counterintuitive… I know… but it has a purpose…

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