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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
February 20, 2010
Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.
The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: Since you're God's Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.
Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: It takes more than bread to really live.
For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, They're yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I'm in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they're yours, the whole works.
Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.
For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, If you are God's Son, jump. It's written, isn't it, that 'he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone'?
Yes, said Jesus, and it's also written, 'Don't you dare tempt the Lord your God.'
That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.
Luke 4:1-13 (Message*)
Jesus successfully resisted the Devil's temptations. Note that he had been exercising the spiritual disciplines of fasting and solitude (and most probably prayer), as led by the Spirit. If even our Lord and Savior found it important to practice spiritual disciplines, wouldn't they be even more important for us?
Dallas Willard says, A discipline is an activity in my power that enables me to do what I cannot do by direct effort. (Living the Eternal Life Now conference, Feb. 20, 2010) We can't act in a Christlike manner simply by our own will power. The spiritual disciplines provide a means to allow the Spirit to transform us into more of the image of Christ.
To what kinds of temptations are you most vulnerable? What spiritual disciplines do you practice? Is the Holy Spirit trying to lead you to undertake a new spiritual discipline?
* The Message version ©1993-2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.
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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Feb-2010 19:22:25 EST