Have you ever faced a Spiritual test or growing pains in your faith as you prepared to serve God? If your faith feels under attack, know that Jesus endured a similar trial — and all so you can have victory. Between His baptism and the beginning of ministry, there was an essential time of preparation in the wilderness.
We witness an incredible moment of Jesus’ faith journey in Matthew 3:16-17, “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”
Shortly after this crucial moment, we find Jesus entering His work of ministry in Matthew 4:17. However, we cannot skip over an essential piece of Jesus’ life on earth sandwiched between His baptism and ministry, for directly after He came up from the baptismal waters, we read in Matthew 4:1, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Before Jesus began sharing the good news of salvation, He had to endure the very real human experience of temptation and testing.
In Hebrews 4:16-18 we see why Jesus had to face this trial: “We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; He came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for Him to be made in every respect like us, His brothers and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since He Himself has gone through suffering and testing, He is able to help us when we are being tested.”
This time of year, many of Jesus’ followers remember His testing in the wilderness through the Spiritual practice of Lent. This is an intentional season of communion with God as we anticipate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Lent is a sacred pause in our busy lives as we return to a posture of prayer. In this way, just as Jesus prepared in the wilderness, we can ready ourselves for the important work of the Kingdom. However you observe Lent or prepare to remember and celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice, here are three Scriptures, songs, and prayers to hide God’s Word in your heart this season.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You.” Psalm 51:10-12
Dear Lord, if there is anything within me — any thoughts, affections, or desires that are not from You — I lay them down at Your feet. Restore me in Your delight and righteousness. I confidently draw near to Your throne of grace and accept the work You want to do in my spirit. Create in me a clean heart that is aligned with Your plans and purposes. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” John 1:29
Dear Jesus, You entered into my reality to redeem and restore me. Heaven’s dawn broke through the night and shattered the darkness. You illuminate my mind and spirit and give me hope for eternity. You accomplished no small thing but rather the greatest sacrifice in history. As Your heart ached in unthinkable grief on the cross, You bore my sorrows. Lord, I remember what You did and am forever grateful. Let my life be a continuous chorus of praise for the work You finished on the cross. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
Dear Jesus, You are the Lord of my life. I admit that, at times, I attempt to retain control. But Lord, I know Your plans are good, and I openly declare that You have the authority in my life. Wherever I have wandered or gone my own way, restore me to the paths of Your righteousness. I believe with all my heart that You are who You say You are. You have more than enough grace, goodness, beauty, wonder, and power. Where my faith has withered, revive it in greater strength than before. Let me be restored in my thoughts, affections, attitudes, and behaviors. I’m following Your lead as You make all things new. In Jesus’ name, amen.