My church has been teaching a Lent series from Matthew 4 based on Jesus’ 40 days of fasting and temptation in the desert. And yesterday I had one of those moments when God revealed an entirely new insight to me from a well-known passage in the Bible.
As believers, we sometimes long for the Spirit to clearly lead and direct us. But as our pastor said, what we mean by that is that we’d like some “insider information” to make our lives more comfortable/successful. But God isn’t interested in leading us into success. He wants to transform us.
Matthew 4 begins,”Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Then he was led by the Spirit. What had just happened?
Jesus had just been baptized by John. The inauguration of his ministry. A visual manifestation of the Trinity with the Spirit alighting like a dove, and the Father acknowledging his love for his son. A beautiful, meaningful moment… then.
Then he was led – by the Spirit – into a desert. He didn’t go off and start healing people or feed 5,000 or even preach. The first step in his ministry was a difficult, lonely period of time. A desert.
Which makes me realize two things:
1. Deciding to follow Jesus and being baptized into a new life should really come with a warning label.
2. When asking for the Spirit to lead, remember that his goal is transformation, and consider whether you’re ready – and willing – to follow.