The Gift And Trial Of The Temptations In The Desert
THE HOLY SPIRIT+change
Sometimes change is required, change is needed for us to grow. Seldom do we ever participate in change willingly, familiar feels way to good. We usually don’t change until we absolutely have to. The circumstances we face in life are usually our undoing. In Mark’s account Jesus is ‘driven’ into the desert. There is an uncomfortable forcefulness in being ‘driven’ to something. Sometimes that uncomfortable forcefulness will take form as an illness, the loss of a loved one, losing a job or a major disappointment. These sudden changes often feel like the opposing force of the Holy Spirit at the time but can be a surprising time of transformation. This Lent we’re being called to allow change, to be led into the desert and not resist the drive. The Holy Spirit is on your side whether your being led or driven, there is revelation on the other side.
The wilderness is a time of intimacy with God, it is our time to witness in plain sight to darkness and after a time know for ourselves our identity. The facts we know about our identity become truths that we believe.
The aromas teach us that the desert becomes the place of a mature repentance and conversion toward transformation into true radical freedom. Barbara Holmes
This time of Lent is a time for clarity, to strip back in order to unearth desires that hide underneath partial goods.
Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?
Songs of Solomon 8:5
The first thing we hear from the devil is ‘If you are son of God..’ So often we doubt our identity as daughters of God, we’re not able to fully grasp what it even means to be a daughter of God. We doubt that are from a loving and good source. We focus so much on our shortcomings that we forget that God’s first blessing was that we were ‘very GOOD’. In the midst of temptations we forget that we are the ‘desiring of God’. The darkness of the temptation tempts us into doubting the light within us. Jesus is Christ and even in his oneness with God he too was tempted! If there’s one thing that Jesus always did in his ministry, he never doubted his identity.
The thing about temptation is, it always holds before us something which is or seems to be partially good which speaks to our desire for goodness. I know it may not always seem like that when you’re being tempted to gossip, control or over indulge but it is true. We’re looking for goodness and we don’t go deep enough. It’s at these moments we’re being asked to go deeper and ask our self ‘ What do I really desire?’
Do I really want that third bar of chocolate. What do I really desire? Do I really want to say hurtful things about this person? What do I really desire? Do I really want to call that ex? What do I really desire? You get the point!
In the suffering of temptation we ask questions with longing for absolute goodness. The temptation is the opportunity to grow and reveal more and more of the glory within us.
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. Romans 8:19
As we overcome temptation new depths of God’s glory is revealed.
scripture + experience
Jesus doesn’t answer the devil directly, he doesn’t enter into conversation with him. After Jesus responds to the devils first temptation using scripture, the devil responds back with scripture. The devil will often speak back to us in our own voice or way of speaking in order to go undistinguished. Jesus exemplifies for us what to do when faced with temptation. He uses scripture to resist the devil and his invitations. It’s necessary for us to be familiar with Scripture on a personal level in order to imitate Jesus who didn’t quote scripture that would make him morally righteous but chose verses that displayed wisdom and thoughtfulness. Knowing the Bible for ourselves is born out of a place of experience and prayer. The Bible can be manipulated as it was by the devil. In order to read and use the Bible to shine a light on darkness we must be guided by the Holy Spirit and it’s fruits.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Holy Spirit, show me the things you want to unearth in my life, give me the grace to cling to you alone during times of temptation. Fill me and guide me in all things and especially in this time of Lent to reveal your glory.
By Charlene Ogu