Friday, October 4, 2013

Battle in the Wilderness: Sweet Solitude (Luke 4:1,2a)

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days..."(Luke 4:1, 2a NASB)

In this passage, Jesus has just begun public service with His baptism. The time for ministry was limited. In three short years, He would offer Himself as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. With just over a thousand days for preaching and teaching, Jesus chose to invest the first forty days in the wilderness.

It seems like an odd way to begin redeeming the world, doesn't it? No one to hear His preaching. No one to teach. No one to heal. We think of this as time alone, but Scripture clearly says He was led about by the Spirit. Just as Moses before Him, He spent this time in the presence of God's Spirit. In a later verse, we see that this was also a forty day fast. Ah, it begins to make sense!

In those times of solitude and sacrifice, all the usual distractions are removed, and there is a sweetness of communion with God that can be found nowhere else. Jesus Himself taught about fasting as a private mode of worship and sacrifice, warning that we are to make no outward sign of fasting for others to see. He who was sinless prepared for service in the most important way of all, quietly, privately, communing with our Lord.

Denying ourselves in this culture is not at all popular, but the power to be found there remains. For today, ask yourself how serious you are about your prayer concerns and the spiritual needs of your children and loved ones. Is your concern great enough to spend time fasting and in solitude with our Lord? If so, offer a sacrifice of fasting (either food or pleasures) as you pray today.

The sweetest times with our Lord can be found when all the distractions are left behind. Today, pray for a willing heart to step aside with Him. Pray, too, that our children and loved ones will be drawn to the sweetness of Spirit they see in us as a result of our time with The Lord.