Led by the Spirit!
Scripture reading for January 4th: Matthew 4, Psalms 3, Proverbs 1:20-21
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of god, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:1-4)
Jesus, Himself, was filled with the Holy Spirit at His baptism. (Matthew 3:16-17) The Holy Spirit came in the bodily form of a dove and lighted on Him after His baptism by John. Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness and to identify with sinners that He came to seek and save. Jesus was a human man and yet was God. He was empowered by the Holy Spirit to begin His life of ministry at the age of 30.
The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit living in us. God’s Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force or some creepy presence. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus and immediately began to lead Him into God’s will and purpose for His life. It is interesting to note that the first place the Holy Spirit led Jesus was into the desert for testing. He led Jesus to a forty day time of fasting in that desert where He underwent a series of temptations from the devil. We have a record of three of these temptations, but the Scriptures imply that there were many more.
What is fasting all about? We all have flesh that likes to call the shots in our life. Fasting is a willful denial of the rule of our flesh and a purposeful recognition that we want to live by God’s will and word. We recognize that we need the rule of God’s Spirit to help us in life more than we need bread or sleep! We tell the flesh “no” and say “yes, Lord” to God. Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread to satisfy His hunger. Jesus spoke Deuteronomy 8:2-3 to Satan, countering the temptation with God’s will and word! Satan was trying to get Jesus (and us today) to live for ourselves and our appetites instead of God’s will! As we continue our journey through 2011, let’s ask the Lord for victory over our flesh and the devil’s temptations!