The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Right after the baptism of Jesus, Mark tells us that the Spirit immediately brought Jesus into the desert where he remained for 40 days aided by the angels. Before we are tempted by the devil, God will send the Holy Spirit to encourage and strengthen us. He does not want us to fall into temptation and sin, but we still are allowed the free will to make our own decisions. Jesus was allowed to be tempted. Jesus also was able to use His own free will to decide if He would follow the path God laid out for Him or choose to not suffer and die upon the Cross. Jesus understands fully the temptations we go through as men and women of faith. When we are being tempted, pray that Jesus guides us away from the temptation. Also, use the words Jesus used to rebuke the devil, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hinderance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men” (Matthew 16:23). Remember, temptation is not a sin; it is not turning away from temptation that causes us to sin.
Many may be discouraged knowing that God allows us to be tempted, but we also learn that God does not allow a temptation beyond what we can handle, and that God will also provide an escape for us (1 Corinthians 10:13). He strengthens us by sending the Holy Spirit to guide us along the narrow path, while allowing us to make our own decision. We can choose to ignore the Holy Spirit, but He will also continue to give us a way to repent and turn away from the sin. This is just like what parents are supposed to do for their children. We are guided by our parents or guardians as we grow up, then they send us out into the world and allow us to make our own decisions. If we mess up, they are there to help us out in the situation we are struggling with. This is not an automatic fix or a free pass to sin, rather we are allowed a chance to make up for the mistakes or sins we made. Although not all of our parents were able to provide for us like this, God our Father is always faithful and will do this for each of us.
After Jesus was tempted and chose the will of the Father over His own, He then began His public ministry preaching about the kingdom of God and now is the time to repent. We are currently living in a time of great grace. We have all the knowledge we need from both the Old and New Testaments. We are given the Word made Flesh and are forgiven by being covered in the blood of Christ through His crucifixion. We are also given the gift of the Holy Spirit, sent to us to share in the glory of God here on earth. We also know that at the sound of the trumpet the elect (those who believe in Jesus Christ) will be gathered to see the coming of the Son of man on the clouds (Matthew 24:29-31). The kingdom of God is at hand, and now is the time to share the message of Jesus Christ. Invite a friend or family member to Church and show them the mercy and forgiveness that they deserve. Be their ‘way out’ of temptation, so they can fully receive Jesus Christ and come to see Him and the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.
Lent in Action:
Turn away from temptation and tell the devil to stay behind you.
Lord Jesus, you know and understand fully how difficult it is to live in this world, full of temptation and sin. Please provide for me a way out of a temptation that I am fighting against. Strengthen me through the power of the Holy Spirit to tell Satan to get behind me. Forgive me for the sins I have committed against you, for I love you with all my heart and do not want to hurt you. I ask for this help in your name, Jesus. Amen.