Jesus’ Journey to the Wilderness
Are you willing to overcome temptations by memorizing Scripture?
Are you in a wilderness? In 2008, during the Great Recession, I (Mark) became very discouraged. It seemed that nothing was going my way. Of course, that was not true, but that’s the way I felt. It was one of the lowest times of my life, and sadly, those times are when we are more vulnerable to temptations. As a result, I remember thinking and behaving in some ways I now regret—not terrible sins, but things I am embarrassed to think about.
This article is coauthored by Mark Alan Williams and Beth Harris. Beth is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer writer and editor for markalanwilliams.net.
While in the wilderness, Jesus fasted for 40 days and was tempted by the devil. At the end of this time, He was understandably very hungry. It is often when we are in the wilderness areas of life that the devil will take full advantage of our vulnerability and exploit our weaknesses, and we will encounter temptations. We may be hungry, tired, worried, lonely, jealous or prideful, and that is when and how we will be most tempted.
So, it was with Jesus, in the wilderness and in His state of hunger and no doubt weakness, that the devil came to tempt Him as well. But Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and He used Scripture to overcome each temptation. As Christians, we need to follow Jesus’ example, be filled with the Holy Spirit and memorize Scripture to overcome each one of our temptations as well.
We all have wilderness times, and mine (Beth) is usually in the evening, when the day is nearly over, and I am tired. I experience the temptation to worry, because I feel remorseful over the past, even after confessing my sins and receiving forgiveness. The tempter comes to me in my wilderness time and causes me to question if I am truly forgiven or worse, truly saved; after all of the sins I have committed. He is rightly known as “the accuser” (Revelation 12:10).
But the Lord graciously leads me to Scripture, where I find comfort, encouragement, and reassurance that I am saved by grace and as a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Furthermore, I remember that God is for me (Romans 8:31), and that no one can take me out of His hand (John 10:28).
I know the time of day that I am most vulnerable and I also know that my mind can be an area of weakness or wilderness, so I regularly pray to the Lord and ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to govern my thoughts (Romans 8:6).
One of my favorite verses, of many that I use when my mind is under attack, which is very effective against unwelcome and intrusive thoughts, is James 4:7 which says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (NIV)
As I submit myself to the Father in humility and resist the devil, then he must go. Time spent memorizing Scripture is well spent. The more we hide Scripture in our hearts, the better equipped and empowered we will be in the wilderness; to overcome temptation just as Jesus did.
Jesus’ final Great Commission was to “make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) You are invited to use the Discipleship Journeys with Jesus materials to make disciples, as Jesus commanded. They’re completely free and easy to access on the internet. Just go to www.djjministry.org and sign up for the complimentary materials.
Each study is accompanied by two short videos recorded on location in the lands of the Bible, so you can see where the events happened! The photo above is from the videos of this journey lesson.
Journey 3 of DJJ, based on Luke 4:1-13 tells us about memorizing Scripture to overcome temptation. In this Discipleship Journeys with Jesus study of Jesus’ Journey to the Wilderness, we read, reflect on and interact on that passage and the events recorded there. We commit to overcome temptation by memorizing Scripture.
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
Podcast: Have I committed the unpardonable sin?
Quote card: Afflictions add to the saint’s glory…
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