June 24th

 

Wilderness times and the power of the Spirit

 

Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.  Luke 4:14 NKJV

 

Even when we're walking on the road to freedom, we still may experience times of spiritual dryness.  I call these “wilderness times.”  These are times when God seems distant from us for no apparent reason.  There are a variety of possible causes for dry spells.  For example, God may use them to test our faith, build our endurance or purify us from the world. 

 

As we go through them, we can be assured that God is with us if we placed faith in Jesus Christ.  He will never leave us nor forsake us.  It may seem very quiet during a dry spell, but he is still with us.  He may be testing us to see if we’ll continue to follow Him, or fall back into our former sin. 

 

Learning to walk by faith in such wilderness times is like getting used to walking blindfolded with a guide who leads with taps on the shoulder instead of words or holding our hand. Indeed, God sometimes guides us with his rod and staff (Psalm 23:4). By faith, we know that these dry times will not last forever.  If we continue to follow Him, God will bring us into spiritual refreshing and fruitfulness that will far exceed anything we could have imagined.

 

Jesus' wilderness experience in Luke 4:1-14 provides a perfect example of moving from a wilderness time into a time of refreshing and fruitfulness.  When Jesus went through his wilderness time, he experienced isolation, hunger and a lack of physical comforts.  After 40 days of that, he was tempted by the devil.  He successfully fought the devil by speaking the word of God, and returned "in the power of the Spirit" (Luke 4:14) to begin his ministry.  

 

We too can make it our goal to persevere through our wilderness time, learn whatever it is that God is teaching us (by overcoming temptations) and return in the power of the Holy Spirit.  By overcoming the devil in the wilderness battles and times of spiritual dryness, we’ll be best prepared to operate faithfully during the times of fruitfulness and blessing.

 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord God, I put my trust in you for all my needs.  I thank you that you have called me and have a special purpose for my life.  Please strengthen me to go through any wilderness times that may be ahead for me.  I pray that I will keep my eyes on you and delight myself in you at all times.  May patience have its perfect work in me, that I may be perfect and complete in my faith, lacking nothing. Thank you for providing for my every need, Lord. Thank you that you are my Shepherd and will never leave me nor forsake me.  I praise you now and forever. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”