“At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1
When we are tested, we tend to bow our heads in defeat, wondering why me God? The rain is pouring down, the boat won’t move, and all my days are clothed in woe. Have you ever felt that you just can’t seem to catch a break no matter how hard you try? That no matter how hard you try to walk in the right direction, that mountain just won’t move. Well my friends, it’s time to enter the Lenten desert.
Many of you right now, as I type this, are resisting the Spirit. He is beckoning you to the Lenten desert and you are still holding on to the world for dear life. Let me just finish this or that, you say, or I’ll start tomorrow.
Friends, do not presume anything.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”- you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. James 4:13-14(a)
So stop and ponder this,
If God felt that it was important for Christ to spend forty days in the desert, who are we to believe we are higher than God?
Have we made ourselves gods like Adam and Eve who first sinned in the Garden of Eden by choosing our own way? Is our own disobedience causing our current anguish?
Lent is on the liturgical calendar for a reason. It is not optional, it is in fact scriptural. Jesus needed that time in the desert to prepare himself for the greatest ministry of all time.
So who are we to say that we do not need to experience the desert before we can experience the harvest?
Deserts are dry places of nothingness. Barren wastelands where God can do His work.
When we do not pause, when we do not rest, when we do not honor the extended Sabbath time during Lent, we are disobedient ever still. We are not above our Lord. How will we become who God wants us to be if we keep running away?
What are you running away from?
This is not rest on a pillow, this is soul rest.
It is not the quiet to the noise around us, it is the quiet in our souls.
This is not a traveling on pilgrimage to be in a physical desert, but the traveling of our souls to God to surrender our will for His.
These things are intentional and take place internally. It is no matter where you live, how much money you have or what your place is in life.
God does His work in a soul, wherever that soul may be
And this is why testing is not a bad thing, but a joy! We go into Lent knowing God will change us, test us, discipline us, work on us. But this kind of trial, this kind of testing is not worldly.
ALL of God’s testing produces fruit and leads us to His will.
This is how God prepared Christ for His public ministry. Time away, time to test.
Flee to the desert. Shut out the world. Fight back the devil with truth which is found in scripture. Then the devil will flee…
Now that we are all situated where God wants us, open up your soul to Him.
Do not tell Him what you need, but rather ask Him what He needs from you.
Do not go in with any preconceived notions.
Listen more than you speak.
Read the scripture and prayers slow. Stop on each word if you have to.
Don’t move from the space He has you in until He tells you to do so.
Fight the devil with the words of our Lord.
Do not demand the food you crave but instead eat only what God gives you.
Go into Lent with one centered and focused question and expect results.
If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts. Do not miss this opportunity to be with Christ. What an amazing grace that God gives us! Forty days alone with Him, learning from Him and feeding off of Him. Learn how He fights in the Spirit. Let Him take over your world and be your hero, because He is. Lent is a not a time of darkness and depression, it is a time of goodness and light!
Fellow pilgrim, be open to dying to yourself in order to live. Renounce your wishes! Cry out to God! I am a sinner in need of a savior! Lord have mercy!
Expect the good to come because it will.
Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!