And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. – Luke 4:1-2
Bad days, lonely days, wilderness days, are not a sign that God has abandoned you, or invalidated what He has said about who you are or what you are called to do. Bad days do not invalidate God’s calling or God’s purpose on your life. In fact, these kinds of days actually serve to strengthen you and empower you, and verify the depth and the significance of what God has said to your life. What we should hear from this account in the Gospel of Luke, and from the the Holy Spirit, is that when God speaks, it does not lead us into the easy, but it will always lead us into the powerful.
Jesus faced some significant battles in during His 40 days in the wilderness. the first battle of temptation that Jesus is confronted with on His way to powerful ministry was whether or not He is going to use His power for personal gain. Jesus rejects this, as you might know. He uses the Word of God as His weapon, and refutes the devil. The devil says to Him “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3) The issue, if Jesus would have succumbed to temptation and turned stones into bread is not that Jesus would’ve eaten bread. What was unique about this temptation is that if Jesus would have used His power to turn stones into bread, it would’ve been the first and only time in Jesus’ ministry when He used His power for His own benefit, and not the benefit of others. You see, and God commissioned Jesus to come as the humble servant, as one who would give His life, not use it for personal gain.
The second battle front is the battle front of avoiding surrender. The biggest hang-up preventing most of us from living a powerful life is just refusal to surrender in some area of your life. The hang-up in your marriage, and the hang-up of why you can’t get past that addiction, and the hang-up of why your finances just are stuck, and stuck, and stuck, is because in the back of your mind you know what you ought to do, but the cost seems too high.
Jesus was full of the Spirit, and led by the Spirit into the wilderness. But when He returned from the wilderness, He was full of the power of the Spirit. “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit.” (Luke 4:14) There are many of you who are full of the Spirit, you are led by the Spirit, but you lack the power of the Spirit, because you won’t surrender, because you won’t confront your battles with temptation.
Take some time and identify what battle front you’re facing today. And if you’re honest and transparent, you’ll see breakthrough happen in your life. The stuff you’re facing, you cannot win on your human terms. You cannot win in the flesh. You cannot win by just willing yourself forward. But when you surrender, when you trust, when you embrace God’s timing and God’s purpose, then His power comes. You find that groove of creation, and then you become exponentially more powerful than you could ever be on your own terms. That’s what it means to be a Great Commission follower of Jesus.