Determined Woman Seeking to Remain Spiritually Strong

A daily devotion for June 1st

Into the Wilderness

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Matthew 4:1

In this account of the temptation of Jesus, we see him going out into the wilderness, driven of the Spirit, to be tempted as a man. He was tempted as a human being; therefore his temptations are our temptations. That is why this account is so tremendously fascinating and practical for us, because this is exactly the form of temptation we are continually facing. If we discover the secret of how Jesus met it, we shall know how to meet temptation in our own lives.

Notice that when Jesus was led of the Spirit to be tempted, he was taken into a wilderness. This may sound strange to us. The first temptation of man occurred in a garden, but this temptation of the second man, the second Adam, occurs in a wilderness. Usually we don't think of a wilderness as a place of temptation. If we want to avoid some of the problems of the temptations of life, we sometimes retreat to a wilderness. We think of the city as the place of temptation. If you want to put a young man or woman under pressure, send them to the city. That is where they will be exposed to the full power and allurement of evil. But this account comes to correct our false impressions and to show us that it is not the outside force that creates temptation, or outward circumstances or situations, but temptation arises from within. Jesus said it is not what goes into a man, but what comes from within, that defiles him.

You can see how this strikes at a very common misconception we all have. We think that our failures, faults, and follies are due to certain outward pressures. If you listen to people talking you can hear someone explaining why he did such and such. He will say, Well, there was nothing else I could do under the circumstances. Or we say, Well, he talked me into it. It is not our circumstances, but some weakness within, some allurement to which we yield, some inner urge. Jesus, therefore, was driven into a solitary wilderness where nothing outside could allure him, no pressure from without, into a highly wasted desert, there to experience the full force of human temptation, to show us it comes from within.

Lord, I confess that too often I blame my circumstances and other people for my weakness in yielding to temptation. I accept that temptation does not happen to me, but comes from within my own heart.

Life Application

What is the "wilderness" you are being led into, in your battle with temptation? What are the outward pressures you are blaming for your own weakness?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Temptation of Christ

Listen to Ray