I think it’d be a safe assumption to say that we could all agree that we are by no means out of the woods yet when it comes to the current climate and season we are living in.
Although the origins of what many of us are facing can be traced back to March of this current year (2020), it would seem that there has been very little circumstantial improvement over these last 9 months, if any at all.
Make no mistake… 2020 will go down in history as one of the most odd, significant, and trying years in the life of many.
A pivotal election.
The exposure of corruption.
Divisions in almost every area in life… including the church.
It has certainly felt like we have been wondering around in the wilderness, hasn’t it?
So much of what has befallen us has revealed the temperature and effectiveness of the church.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: We cannot afford to waste the time that’s right in front of us.
We cannot afford to come out on the other side of all of this trouble the same as when we entered it.
I remain convinced that this entire time has been an invitation to hunger and thirst for what the church greatly needs.
This season was meant to provoke us, to awaken us, and to cause us to humble ourselves in ways we never knew were possible or envisioned.
And yet, so much has been used by the enemy to distract us from what ultimately matters most.
When Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit, He spent His 40 day stay fasting and being tempted by the devil.
The bible goes out of its way to tell us that He entered this time of testing full of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 4:1).
Unfortunately, I believe this year has revealed how little the Holy Spirit fills our lives.
Anytime we complain, look for the easy way out, and seek to return to the sleep we’ve been awakened from, we look more like the wandering Israelites seeking to return to Egypt than we do Jesus overcoming His testing in the wilderness.
I find it interesting that the Israelites checked in to the Hotel Wilderness for 40 years; whereas, Jesus only remained their for 40 days.
We will always wander longer than we need to as long as it’s about us and not the Lord.
After going through this period of temptation and overcoming it, the word of God triumphantly announces that Jesus emerged from the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 4:14).
Dear reader, please don’t miss this.
Jesus entered the trial full of the Spirit and left it in the power of the Spirit.
In all honesty, I think this is what this time is all about.
It’s time that we take advantage of where we are.
Some of us may not have entered this year full of the Spirit, but we can certainly leave it in the power of the Spirit.
A.W. Tozer said, “God never uses anyone greatly until He tests them deeply.”
The test reveals whether or not God can truly trust us.
This year and all that characterized it has shaken us to the core.
It has revealed where we stand, what we are made of, and what’s inside of us.
It has exposed where our trust lies and what we ultimately desire.
Jesus never pleaded with His Father to stop the test.
He never asked at the Holy Spirit to lead Him elsewhere.
He was focused on one thing and one thing alone — doing the will of the One who sent Him.
Jesus wasn’t distracted.
He was absorbed.
When our attention is on the Father… when Jesus has our gaze… when we long to be immersed in the person of the Holy Spirit and to do the will of God… we will exit this season in the power of the Spirit.
But if our focus is on what’s happening… if we are self-absorbed more than we are God absorbed… if we spend more time in the presence of the media than in the presence of God… if we digest all the bad news rather than reflect on the Good News… we will die in the wilderness… we will not prosper.
Let’s make it a point to seek a greater baptism in the Spirit.
Let’s fix our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith so that we might overcome the sin that seeks to entangle us.
And may we come out of this time of trial not only full of the Spirit, but also in His power.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries
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