This morning, as I was encouraging a brother in Christ, I was reminded of, and in turn reminded him of Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus, did not eat for 40 days. What did He focus on? While we don’t know for certain, as neither of the accounts tells us, we know that He was tested by Satan in three specific ways. I think His response to Satan tells us all we need to know about the time leading up to His temptation: He responded with the Word, and so I think it is safe to assume He was in the Word during his 40 day fast.
Consider Jesus' relationship with the Word. He did not use it as a textbook, or as a shield. He had a living relationship with it. We're reminded in Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." He had a relationship with the Word because He was the Word of God, and His pursuits were to obey and fulfill all His Father commanded. His desire was to love His father in a way that He would see all His Father's will completed, regardless of what that meant for Himself. Simply put: He loved the Father, so He sought to please Him, even as He suffered in His temptations (Hebrews 2 and 4 have much to say on this!).
Loved ones, how do you approach God and His word? Is it a textbook full of the right answers? Is it a shield to protect you from doing wrong, and to help you in pursuing right? What if our approach to it is wrong? What if we, instead, pursued God's word to find out what our Heavenly Father desired of us, so that we could please Him? What if it was all about love? Love is what helps us deny ourselves. Love is what helps us to mourn our sin. Love is what causes us to deny ourselves and pick up our crosses every day and follow Jesus. Love is what helps us, when we fall, to fall in to the grace of Christ. Pursue God in love, and watch how, out of Love, you desire to obey Him, and He conforms you, in love, in to the image of His Son. I hope this helps someone.
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.