Building A Lifestyle of Intimacy with God: PART-2 Strengthened through the Wilderness Experience


Part 2: Strengthened through the Wilderness Experience

One of the huge building blocks in increasing intimacy with God is enduring in faith through a wilderness experience. God tells us in 2Corinthians 12:9 that His strength works best in the times when we’re our weakest and most vulnerable. He doesn’t cause the complex and difficult situations we find ourselves in, but He has already provided a way of escape for us. As we lean on His direction and guidance, we see a side of His love and care that we haven’t seen before. We also see how vehemently the devil comes against us. Many believers are very shocked to witness the degree to which the enemy tries to steal, kill, and destroy our lives. Jesus Christ said in John 8:44 that the devil was a murderer from the beginning, that he always hated the truth, is a liar, and the father of lies. You and I must know that the enemy will use every tool in his arsenal to test our weaknesses, and the flesh is indeed weak, but the Spirit of Christ within will cause us to triumph no matter the temptation, trial, or test.

After Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, Matthew 4:1 tells us that he was led into the wilderness, and there he was tempted by the devil. Our blessed Lord was both fully God and fully human. He had fasted forty days and nights, and his physical body was very hungry; no different than how you or I would be if we fasted without any food for an extended period. Matthew 4:3(NLT) says that during this time, the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”  It is important for us to know what was at stake here. Jesus said in John 12:47 that he did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He came to save us—to rescue us from torment and darkness! This was his mission from Heavenly Father, and if he had failed, it is entirely likely that no human being would be alive because the devil would have won; and his winning means death to the whole human race.

In Matthew 4:4(NKJV), Jesus Christ answered the devil by telling him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” There is a greater nourishment of strength for us than food, and it is God’s Word, the Bread of Life. Our Blessed Lord taught us this in speaking the truth to the tempter. The Lord is mighty in battle, and He has given us His Word so that we can stand in His victory. Ephesians 6:17 tells us to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; for it is alive, powerful, and sharp! Holding to the promises of God’s strength and love will keep us during times of tribulation. We have to know God’s Word to keep our minds and hearts strong in faith.

Every Christian will have a wilderness experience. In Luke 6:40, Jesus Christ tells us that students are not greater than their teacher. He was tested in the wilderness, and we are often tested by the devil in our wilderness experience as well. Jesus wasn’t out there alone. The Father was with him. In John 8:29(NKJV), he said, “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” God was with Christ, just as He is with us—no matter what we face.

The Holy Spirit led Jesus in the wilderness to fast, and Heavenly Father knew that Jesus would be tempted there. God did not stop the devil as he tempted His Son, because there is no test that we can’t pass when our trust is in God. The Holy Spirit made Jesus bold, and from his example you and I can know that there’s no conquest without a contest—no victory without a battle.

In the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 1, we get an up-close view at what it looks like to stay in the wilderness and never come out. That’s what happened to many of the men in the Children of Israel because they were consumed with fear after leaving slavery in Egypt. They had a slavery mentality of fear, so much so that when God led them out of Egypt into freedom, they sorely complained and wanted to go back.

God parted the Red Sea so they could go through to the other side. He fed them manna from heaven, preserved their health, and made water come out of rocks for them, but still, they would not rise in their faith and trust God. Moses gave them specific instructions from God about everything they needed to do. He told them not to be afraid to enter the Promised Land as God had commanded. Deuteronomy 1:32(NLT) tells us that Moses said to them, “But even after all he did, you refused to trust the LORD your God,” They would not renew their minds while in the wilderness, and because of it not one of the men that left Egypt was able to enter the Promised Land. They wandered around until they all died. This is not our destiny as God’s sons and daughters. We are to walk in the victory of Christ, our Lord!

God has equipped us with the Spirit of love, power, and sound mind. In 1John 4:18, He tells us that there’s no fear in His love; absolutely none! His love expels ALL fear, and He’s equipped us with it. Each time that we are tested, tried, and tempted, we should develop a deeper faith in God. As we lean on His love, we will see that it is impossible for Him to fail.

We also need to know that it is impossible for us to have both faith and fear at the same time. As believers and followers of Christ, we must not let fear trap us. Our commission is always to walk with the King and to be prepared for temptation, because the tempter will try to shake us loose from our faith in God. But we must arm ourselves with His Word and be strong in the Lord and in His power. We must put on all the armor He has provided. When we do, Ephesians 6:11 tells us that we will be able to stand firm against ALL the strategies, tricks, and plots of the devil. We will come out of the wilderness stronger in Christ than we were before we went in, and God will be with us through it all. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Building A Lifestyle of Intimacy with God: Part 2-Strengthened through the Wilderness Experience”, written by JMack,© 2019. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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