Day 362: December 28, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Luke 4:1-13
1 Then Jesus returned from the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for 40 days to be tempted by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, He was hungry. 3 The Devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 But Jesus answered him, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone.” 5 So he took Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 The Devil said to Him, “I will give You their splendor and all this authority, because it has been given over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want. 7 If You, then, will worship me, all will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” 9 So he took Him to Jerusalem, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you, 11 and they will support you with their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. ” 12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said: Do not test the Lord your God.” 13 After the Devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him for a time.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

“It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” —Luke 4:8

Wilderness or Garden
by Denise Hildreth Jones, Member of Brentwood Baptist, Brentwood Campus

It began in the garden. The battle for our hearts. Satan used three tactics. His first tactic was the lust of the flesh—"the tree was good for food." The second one was the lust of the eyes—"it was pleasant to the eyes." The third was the pride of life—"a tree desirable to make one wise."

In this epic battle between Satan and the first Adam, we lost. Genesis 3:6 says, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate."

Since that moment our hearts have been in a perpetual battle to remain connected to the heart of our Father.

But then came the second Adam—Jesus Christ. God was about to undo with Jesus all the chaos, pain, and harm that Adam had caused. And it would start, no not this time in a garden, because Adam removed us from such beauty.

But this time Jesus' backdrop is the wilderness—the dry, deserted, barren place. And He doesn't stumble upon this moment. No, this is intentional. God is about to regain, by the power of His Son and the power of His word, the power of truth over the illusion of a lie.

Satan comes just as he did in the garden, toting the same back of tricks. He preys on Jesus' human side. He targets his flesh. He sets out to seduce His eyes. And He pricks at His potential place of pride.

But this isn’t the first Adam. No, this is the last Adam. And He knows His enemy well. He has studied Him, observed Him. And now, in first of many moments He’ll overcome him.

And He does it by the power of the word of God. With each strategically contrived lie, Jesus speaks truth. Truth straight from the mouth of God. And we’re told by verse 13 "Now when the devil had ended every temptation [testing], he departed from Him until an opportune time.”

But as most of us know, Jesus wins.

This is our same enemy. He slithers onto the scene of our stories and studies us. Then he strikes at us with his best shots at our weak places—our lustful thoughts, ungrateful attitudes, critical spirits, angry hearts, desires for more, and unteachable spirits. He offers us the opportunity to bite the fruit, going farther into the sin and separation from our Heavenly Father.

Yet we’ve been equipped for the battle. Armed and ready can be our slogan. Defeated, beat up lives don’t have to be our norm. Because God has given us the Word of God and the beautiful gift of the Holy Spirit.

Are there times battles will come? As sure as the sun will rise. Are there seasons when they may be even more intense than normal? They are few things more certain. But is there each and every time a way of escape? Not a doubt about it.

Jesus won. Adam became a "living being." But, "the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:45). And if we’re His, than that life-giving spirit lives in us—whether wilderness or garden.

Reflection Questions

  1. What is the last attack that you have been under from the enemy?
  2. What do you feel that He was targeting specifically?
  3. How did you battle through the attack?
  4. Are there tools you might could have used that you didn't?
  5. How might the next season of testing look different knowing that the "life-giving" spirit of Jesus dwells in you?

About the Author

Denise Hildreth Jones
» Blog/Website

Denise Hildreth Jones has been a member at Brentwood Baptist since 2012. She’s married to Philly Jones and is the bonus-mom to their five active children. Author of ten books, she leads a ministry called Reclaiming Hearts and blogs in her Monday Musings column at www.reclaiminghearts.com. Her best days are accompanied by a cold Coca-Cola, a good book, SEC football, and backyard soccer games with her five kiddos.