Endurance

A got an email from my mum last week:

“I read today, 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)  

I’m used to thinking about a temptation coming and us being told to resist the devil and he will flee from us.  As I read on in this passage, I always thought of Jesus being tempted 3 times.  But as you read this carefully, this passage indicates that Jesus was being tempted by the devil throughout his forty days in the wilderness.  In the Bible, 40 is the number for testing (God sent the rain in Noah’s time for 40 days, Israelites were in the desert 40 years etc), so it makes sense that this time in the wilderness was a time of testing for Jesus.

I thought about how hard these longer-term testings and temptations are.  Something we could endure for a short while wears us thin after a longer while.  Frustrations build, fears build, fatigue builds…  It’s this long-term pressure that most shapes our character, like wearing braces for 4 years shapes your mouth.  But how to survive this?

How can we go week after week, or month after month, without becoming burned out and bitter?  I don’t believe we can.  We don’t have the strength.  But it is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me.  Christ understands, for He was tempted just as we are, including a long, lonely and hungry sojourn in the wilderness, by the will of God.”

Maybe you have a difficult relationship with someone.
Maybe you have health problems.
Maybe you turn on your computer an add for a porn site pops up.
Maybe you are having difficulties at work or in your education.
Maybe you are depressed or are suffering grief .
It is not a sin to feel tempted to do wrong in situations like these.  It is a sin to act on the feeling however.  We can’t overcome these temptations on our own, but the Holy Spirit will help us.
God will never allow a temptation in your life too difficult for you.  If you feel it is too difficult for you, that means you must look to God and ask Him for help.  You can do all things and overcome all things by His Grace.

Titus 2:11-12

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
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