living an overcoming life
The following is an excerpt in the Easter/Lenten devotional: Victory in the Wilderness.
In Luke chapter 4, we have the account of Jesus spending time in the wilderness, and then being confronted by temptations by Satan. The full account, verses 1-13, reads as follows:
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.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
And Jesus answered him, “It is written,” ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
As we begin this 7-week devotion for an Intentional Easter, we must begin at the heart. The above passage is the foundation for these 40 days leading up to Passover, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
Maybe you are intrigued by the idea of a more intentional Easter because you feel something is missing, or misaligned, or unfocused in your current walk with Jesus. My prayer for you is that by the end of these 7 lessons you will have a clearer view of Jesus and your place in His story. The way to get to a life of purpose and intentionality is one day at a time. As you walk each day focused on intentional moments and having purpose behind each choice, you will look back and see that your life was full of purpose.
We live in a world of excess. We buy food we never consume, we have an ever-present box getting filled for the thrift store, and our trash cans on collection day are overflowing. We have so much, we can’t possibly hold on to it all.
We also live in a world of speed. Our food is quick, our cars are speedy, and our days move so fast that they start to blur together.
These two things together, excess and fast, leads to a life that leaves us feeling empty and exhausted. But there is a way to counteract what the world is telling us to do.
We can choose to slow down and abstain.
Jesus knew the benefits of both. When you read through the Gospels, one thing you can see is that Jesus never hurried anywhere. Even when a friend was dying, we still took measured movements. He knew who was in control. Jesus did not rush.
Prior to Jesus’ ministry, He spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness. Even Jesus, part of the Trinity, needed over a month of slow and abstaining to focus His heart and mind. Imagine what God can do with us if we give Him the same.
To begin this walk through an Intentional Easter, let’s begin with looking at how hurried and excessive our own life is. The Lenten season was born out of the scripture of Luke 4:1-13. It’s a call to fast from something in your life.
Jesus’ temptation by Satan in the wilderness targeted 3 different areas of life, areas that we all can be tempted with, too.
- The physical temptation: do what feels right. vs 3
- The control temptation: take over the throne. vs 6+7
- The emotional temptation: question God’s love. vs 9-11
Can you think of instances in your life where you have:
- Followed your heart instead of the Spirit
- Took control into your own hands instead of waiting on God
- Wondered if God still loves you despite your failings
What if, for these next 7 weeks leading up to Easter, we fasted from excess and hurry? What if, every time we were prone to eat more than we need, buy something impulsively, or felt the need to rush, we asked ourselves which of the above listed temptations we were falling in to?
When we feel tempted to rush and take more than we need, we need to instead turn our heart towards God with the prayer, “You are more important than _____, help my heart to want You above all else.”
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