Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’ 4Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.” ’ 5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And the devil said to him, ‘To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.’ 8Jesus answered him, ‘It is written,
stark branches in ice? in water?
Full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was led by the Spirit in the wilderness. Praying as Jesus taught us saying, ... and lead us not into temptation."
It happened to Jesus. Why teach us to pray for it not to happen? I almost hear Jesus saying, "I wouldn't wish that on anyone."
And yet, I'm stuck on him being led by the Spirit in the wilderness. Led by the Spirit. The Spirit didn't leave him in the wilderness. The Spirit didn't desert him in the desert. The psalmist was right in asking, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" Nowhere.
Each Lent I try to find a practice for 6 weeks that will remind me of God's faithful, stick-to-it- presence. And even for those who don't adopt a discipline for Lent, I have found that the season lends itself to a new journey with God. As a pastor, I want to monopolize on that. It's Lent, let's journey together - with the Spirit.
I have a long history of finding creative practices during Lent. Years ago I would give up coffee or chocolate. Last year I gave up "trying too hard." A good friend gave up multi-tasking last year. I try to find a practice that will cause me to feel "led by the Spirit" in the desert.
It's amazing how much nature feeds us, isn't it?
Why? Because man shall not live on bread alone. The every day grind of our lives, the stop by the grocery store after work, get the homework done, followed by bath time and then bedtime so that I can have 15 minutes of reading a book while putting a load of laundry in before I fall asleep doesn't feed us. We need more. I wonder if that's why Jesus taught us to pray, "give us this day our daily bread."
We have six weeks - the season of Lent. What if we found a practice that would help us discern what feeds us? What feeds our minds, our bodies, our spirits?
And how about this question - If we let the Spirit lead us, would the Spirit lead us to our daily bread? Would the Spirit lead us if our desert was the suburbs? Would the Spirit lead us while being tempted - even if we're driving in the desert in our mini-van? Would the Spirit lead us?
I think the answer is yes.
Do we want to be led by the Spirit?
I say let's give it a try.
All photos are available at To The Clouds Photography.
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