Quite some time ago I brought something up that has been rattling in my mind again, and I need to address this some more. Try to imagine meeting Jesus immediately after he spent those 40-days in the wilderness. Yes, he may have been a little hungry and tired, but look back at the event, knowing what you know now. Jesus had just met our enemy who through everything he could think of at Him. Although, I can almost see Jesus’ face shining, rejoicing, and praising the Father. Why? Because he had won a great victory! That cowardly enemy backed down by Jesus simply saying, “It is written!”
Even despite his physically weakened state, in my mind, Jesus was exuding life and confidence. He had defeated the devil and now he was ready to face all the works of hell. So he travels boldly for every city that lies in darkness. He preaches the gospel — the great news of deliverance! Strong and confident of God’s Word. He heals the sick, knowing that his Father was with him.
Okay, so that was Jesus’ response, but what about you? When you examine your own life, do you see any great victory? Or, do you see just the opposite? Are you still facing your own dry wilderness experience? Have you endured fiery attacks from Satan, and now your worn out and cast down? Are you starting to think, “Jesus never went through trials like mine. He was above all this”? Well?
Okay, maybe you see a minister who appears strong in faith; he sounds so assured of God’s presence and you start thinking, “Wow! He there is no way he could have had any problems like mine.” Oh, if you only knew! Write him a letter or send him an email and ask about his past experiences. You see, you were never there when God called this man to preach and then led him into a wilderness to be tempted. You were never there when he was reduced to nothing, cast down in despair. You don’t know that often his best sermons came out of the trials of his own life.
Paul warns us not to measure our righteousness against what we think someone else has: “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are fooling themselves” (II Corinthians 10:12).
We can’t read what is in the heart of someone else. There is not way anyone could have known on day forty-one that Jesus had just come out of a long, horrible temptation, could they? I was just guessing. In truth, there is not way I (or anyone) could have known that the glory they saw in him came from a struggle worse than any they would ever endure.
Forget about comparing your experience with someone else. You are to look only to Jesus. We are to rely only on His righteousness, His holiness. He has given us all equal access to it. Your Father loves you in your testing times. His own Spirit has led you into the wilderness. Yet his own Son has already been there — and He knows exactly what you are going through. Let Him complete his work of building into you utter dependence and trust in Him. You will come out with confidence; might and courageous; and consumed with godly compassion and strength to help others.
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