When a person rock climbs for the first time, there is a normal practice that is practically necessary, to help give this new climber a sense of security in their equipment. They put on the harness, strap in to the line, ensure their partner is ready to belay them… and begin to climb. But the smartest thing a veteran belayer can do for the beginner climber is help them test their equipment. After the climber climbs a couple feet up, you have them stop and sit back in their harness… and completely let go of the rock. Not until they have completely tested their equipment, can they truly trust that equipment to save them.
We see this demonstrated in Luke. Before Jesus could embark on His ministry, He had to be tested. “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.” (Luke 4:1-2) The rest of the story continues to display a couple examples of the temptations that Jesus faced in the wilderness. We know from the passage above that He was tempted all along, but we only see written three temptations that all took place after 40 days of no food.
With the man of Jesus at his weakest moment (after 40 days of no food), he had to rely upon the Spirit within him to fight the temptations, which He obviously did. The passage says in the beginning He was “filled with the Spirit”. This same Spirit that you and I are filled with once we confess and believe. We too are filled with the Spirit who is powerful enough to lift us up in our weakest moments.
Then, because the man of Jesus relied upon the Spirit in His weakest moment, He was then empowered by the Spirit. The next verse after this passage, when Jesus actually began His ministry, says, “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee” (Luke 4:14a) He was no longer simply ‘filled’ by the Spirit, but was ‘in the power of the Spirit’, all as a result of facing temptation and relying upon the Spirit to carry Him.
The temptations in our life serve the same purpose. We are filled with the Spirit. When we turn to Him in our weakest times, when we rely upon Him to carry us through these temptations, we become empowered by Him.
This passage actually ended with this. “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time” (v13) Just because Jesus relied upon the Spirit to carry him through these temptations doesn’t mean He will continue to do so. Of course He did, but the same is not always the case for us.
Satan will continue to come and test us again and again. When we rely upon the Spirit inside of us to empower us against the attack, we actually become even stronger. We end up living ‘in the power of the Spirit.’ Every time we are tested, and we turn to the Spirit, we come out on the other side, more confident, stronger. Trust Him. Satan was created, the Spirit is eternal. You have His power in you. Trust your equipment.
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