Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)
Why on earth would the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness, and why does he lead each of us there still? I don’t know the full answer to either of those questions, but I have a suspicion that part of it has to do with us learning to hear and to trust and to be led by the voice of God, rather than the voice of the enemy.
In our noisy, chaotic, everyday lives it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the voice of the one who would lead us astray and the voice of Love. But in the wilderness all of the trappings and distractions are stripped away and we are finally able to see things—and hear things—for what they really are. What seemed so subtle in the frenzy and commotion, becomes stark in the stillness and silence of the wilderness. Thus, we are much more able to see and hear the difference between the one who came to steal and kill and destroy, and the One who calls us his beloved.
So maybe the wilderness is not such a bad place after all. Maybe it is not a place to be avoided at all costs. Maybe it is not a place of scarcity, but a place of abundance. Maybe it is actually a place where God leads us in order to speak tenderly to us. Maybe it is a place of transformation. And maybe, just maybe, by recognizing the difference between the voice of the enemy and the voice of our God in the wilderness, we will, one day, be able to recognize it in our everyday lives. A man can dream, right?
Lord Jesus, help me to continually know the difference between the voice of the one who seeks to steal and kill and destroy, and the One who calls me his beloved. May your voice be the one I pay attention to. May your voice be the one that guides and controls my life. Let me hear your voice, Lord Jesus, that I may live according to your word. Amen.
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