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Matthew 4:1

Inevitable Conflict

4 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Imagine that you are the Minister of Music and you are in the process of rehearsing for your church Christmas program, but everything seems to be going wrong. People don't show up for important rehearsals, or some may not like your choice of music. Others may be arguing over costumes or seating arrangements or over who took their folder. Maybe your musicians are constantly rushing the tempo. You may be tempted to lose your temper, to call the whole thing off, or to ask someone to leave. You might be asking yourself,"Why does this always happen?"

God's work never goes unopposed by the devil. Because God works in and through people, the devil will always find ways to tempt us to give up the work. You are preparing a great worship celebration for our Lord Jesus Christ, and the devil will tempt you to act in an ungodly way and thus ruin the work.

In our passage for today, we see Jesus ready to embark on His ministry. The greatest creative work ever performed was about to begin, but Satan was not going to sit by and watch. He was ready with His ingenious designs to tempt Jesus into acting contrary to the will of God. The stage was set for the seed of the devil to bruise the heel of the woman's offspring, and for that child to bruise the devil's head.

As Christians we must recognize the inevitability of this conflict. Jesus was, immediately after His baptism, led up into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. The scripture tells us that the purpose was to be tempted by the devil. Mark 1:12 is even stronger, and we read that the Spirit "drives" Jesus into the wilderness. Jesus would be prepared for His ministry by the strengthening process of temptation. In future verses we will see how He was tempted and overcame the temptation.

Your ministry also needs to go through temptations. It doesn't matter if you are a Sunday school teacher, nursery worker, deacon, usher, pastor, choir member, pianist, sound tech, or worship leader. In order to proclaim the gospel of Christ and be effectively used by God, you must live accordingly. You must be tempted to sin and you must refuse the temptation. The conflict is inevitable. Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." (Mt 10:34) You serve the body of Christ, and your testimony is strengthened by your own temptation and victory over it.

The difference between your ministry and that of Christ lies in the fact that He has already defeated the devil for you. You, however, must defeat the temptation to turn control back over to the devil. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Power forward! Jesus never hesitated, never took a step backwards, and never doubted the power of God over evil. You can do the same, because He has paved the way.

Before The Throne:

Pray for strength and a new understanding of the role that temptation plays in your spiritual growth. Ask God to help you resist and overcome the temptations that will inevitably come. Pray for the other people involved in your ministry. Ask the Lord to show them how important temptations are, and how to resist. Ask Him to help your ministry to work together in harmony toward a unified purpose.

For Further Study:

(v.1) ** was. Mark 1:12, 13-15; Luke 4:1-13; Rom 8:14; ** of the spirit. 1Kgs 18:12; 2Kgs 2:16; Ezek 3:12, 14; Ezek 8:3; Ezek 11:1, 24; Ezek 40:2; Ezek 43:5; Acts 8:39; ** to. Gen 3:15; John 14:30; Heb 2:18; Heb 4:15-16;


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