‘Jesus was led…by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.’ (Matthew 4:1 NRSV)
Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness so that he could face temptation, and it was important that he did so because every human being goes through times in the wilderness.
We experience periods when we feel dry and barren and the world seems an inhospitable place to be in. It’s then we are liable to face temptation: The temptation to doubt who we are, and the temptation to doubt who God is. And these are the two great temptations that Jesus faced. They were temptations about his identity and God’s.
Just before Jesus went into the wilderness he was baptised; it was confirmed to him that he is God’s Son, and God is pleased with him. Following this revelation he faced the temptation to doubt whether he really is the Son of God: If you are the Son of God then turn these stones into bread; if you are the Son of God then prove it – jump off this mountain and God will save you, if he really loves you and you really are his Son.
Then Jesus faced the temptation to doubt God’s identity, is God really the giver of good things? The devil offers Jesus all the world has to offer if he turns away from God.
These are the temptations Adam and Eve faced: They were tempted to doubt what God said to them and whether his motives were good; unfortunately they gave into that temptation.
These are the temptations we face in our wilderness times: To not see ourselves as we really are, and to not see God as he really is.
Whatever we experience in our wilderness we need the reassurance that we are valuable, loved Children of God, and in the weakness of our wilderness our good God meets us and accepts us unconditionally.
Adam and Eve lost sight of who God was and who they were, and like them, we can lose sight of these things.
But there was a second Adam, another human being who entered into the wilderness just as we do, was tempted just as we are and was able to overcome that temptation. He offers his help and his understanding to all those who are in the wilderness and are being similarly tempted and are afraid.
So, ask yourself, ‘how is my self-esteem and how is my God-esteem’?
‘Do I have a self-esteem that knows I am a fully loved, fully accepted child of God’?
‘Do I have a God-esteem that knows that God is good, that he loves me and is for me’?
There is nothing that all the kingdoms of the world have that could compare to this understanding; don’t let the adversary rob you of it.
Father, thank you that you are a good God and that I am your accepted child; help me to bask in the warmth of our relationship.
Have a good week recognising who you are and who God is.