Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
The mountain top experience. Jesus had just had one as he was baptized in the Jordan River. The voice of his Father proclaimed, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22b). I’ve had several over the course of my walk with Jesus. I remember the first time I “heard” the Holy Spirit speak to me. It really shook me up. The thoughts I had could not have come from me. But almost immediately there was another “voice” casting doubt that I could possibly have heard from God! I was a very baby Christian at the time. It has taken years to understand that I have an enemy that wants to keep me as far from following Jesus as possible. Jesus knew how to battle the devil. It is something I continue to learn.
Our small group is currently in the throes of learning how to let God fight those battles for us, the ones where our enemy wants to take us down. We have our part to do, and when we do what we can do, God will do the rest. I have to admit, I have lost most of the battles and have had to pick myself back up again after being knocked down. I feel like I had a small victory recently. Something happened at work which caused me to NOT believe I am who God says I am. That is a frequent target as it is my soft spot, that place that has a scab over it but gets picked at on occasion. A place of weakness. As I drove home, I felt myself beginning that familiar spiral when something inside reminded me of what I’d been learning—worship is a weapon. I heard that at a women’s conference recently and it stuck. All I could think to do at the time was turn on the radio and start singing praise songs. With tears streaming down my face, and a huge lump in my throat, I drove down the road singing at the top of my lungs with all that I had. Then, I got very angry and started yelling— “You aren’t taking me down! I refuse to go back to that place.” You see, I had already experienced the words Jesus spoke that day in the synagogue.
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus has set me free! I have the Holy Spirit inside me. Jesus could not be tempted because he knew who he was. When I remain in that place of knowing who I am, and whose I am, His strength is available to me. By the time I got home, I felt at peace. This battle was over.
A few days ago, I was looking out back early in the morning, just as the sun rose. Perched high in the trees was a hawk. I knew he was there waiting for the birds to start gathering at my feeders. He planned to swoop down and devour the bird that was unsuspecting and not on guard. It reminded me how important it is to always have my guard up. My enemy is waiting for me to be unsuspecting as well. In a moment of weakness, like I experienced at work, I could easily have gone back to believing the lies.
It’s like working out. Unless I actually use my muscles and exercise them, they won’t get stronger. I think God was giving me a chance to put into practice what he was teaching me. I don’t have to believe those lies; I don’t have to go back to that place of darkness. He has given me everything I need to fight that battle and what I don’t have, he will provide.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your presence, for your example in Jesus, and for teaching me how to trust that you are who you say you are and can do what you say you can do. Sometimes I forget that you are for me when it seems the world is against me. Thank you for reminding me. Thank you for being my strength when I was weak. In Jesus name, Amen