I’ve been thinking recently how silly jealousy is. I mean why is it when we recognize someone else has something we desire, our first reaction is a tinge of jealousy? Why do we then start to compare ourselves with them and find some way that it is unfair that they have what we want, AND they probably do not even deserve it? Can I just encourage all of us today to rejoice in what we each have been entrusted so far with and to choose to genuinely rejoice with others? Can I also encourage us to ask that person how they got there? Chances are the answer will be consistent right choices, hard work, sacrifice, and saying no to other things. The things we want are usually attainable if we are willing to align our lives to be positioned to receive them. Next time we see someone enjoying something we want and do not yet have, let’s choose to be humble and teachable, and ask them how they got there, take some advice and move closer towards that goal! THAT’S PROGRESS! THAT IS REPLACING DESTRUCTIVE CYCLES WITH CONSTRUCTIVE CYCLES! And that is how we move FORWARD!
Can you take a minute to read Luke 4 before going on?
Something that stood out to me today as I read in chapter four was that satan waited until Jesus was really really hungry, probably almost desperate to eat, probably feeling very weak before he started to tempt Him.
It said that Jesus had been in The wilderness for 40 days and had not eaten a thing before satan started to tempt him.
I have personally had this type of experience with the tempter, aka accuser. I have had many times where I was beaten down, at the end of my rope, overwhelmed with fear of the unknown, and just plain desperate and that is when I would get kicked the hardest. I have had many “wilderness” experiences where I felt all alone, and even sometimes separated from God. Satan loves to kick us while we are down. He loves to tempt us when we are desperately fighting, and he especially loves to tempt us with what we are desperate for.
I strongly believe we were given this example because Jesus showed us how to handle every type of temptation we would be faced with. He showed us there is NOTHING satan can throw at us that cannot be defeated by the TRUTH in the Word of God. He showed us that in order to deny satan from defeating us, we will constantly have to deny our flesh, meaning our physical needs, our pride, our need to prove God to others, any desire we have that does not line up with the plans of The Lord on our lives. He showed us that the only strategy needed to live in victory is to be in relationship with the Word, JESUS! It’s serious. He came to give us a perfect example of living a human life completely dependent on The Lord and this was His only and very specific strategy for overcoming every temptation. What an awesome example.
So how can you really apply what Jesus was teaching us? Here is something I try to do. I pray this scripture: Psalm 139:23-24
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
When I deliberately ask for this, He does reveal any offensive way in me. Often times, it would be something I would never otherwise have paid attention too. But mostly, if they would be left in the darkness to grow, it would take root and be much more painful to rip up and out. So although it is painful to see it at all, I’m grateful when it is revealed to me at just the beginning.
So next I have to make a choice to agree with God and line my heart up with His will. I have free will, so this is my responsibility. I have to choose to say, “Yes Lord, I recognize that is not from You, what are we going to do about it?” Often times, I don’t want to say that, but because I know Him, and I know He is FOR ME, I trust that He is saving me from future pain by revealing it to me. Then as I search the scriptures, He gives me truth to defeat the lie attached to the offensive way. So now that The Lord has made me aware of this thing, I’m hyper sensitive to it. I can now recognize the ploy and I have the specific strategy from The Lord, the specific scripture(s) to defeat the enemy. Together with The Lord’s help, with Jesus alive in me, I can overcome! Praise The Lord!
Lord Jesus, thank you for providing everything. Thank you for being the Truth! Teach me in your ways. Deepen my desire for holiness and continue to make me aware of every offensive thing in me. Cleanse me, purify me, make me more like you! Oh Lord, that is the deepest desire of my heart! I love you and it in in your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen!