Lent is a time of joining Jesus in the wilderness. As city dwellers it is easy for us to misunderstand wilderness. In the city we tend to think of it as the open spaces up at Hluhluwe, Umfolozi and St Lucia iSimangiliso
But in fact wilderness is not just the undeveloped areas of our world, the wilderness remains it abides beneath our concrete buildings and tar roads – it underpins our development – so too in our spiritual lives our wilderness is what we are developed on! Not separate, not over there, but in our soul, holding the facade of our worldly lives, which are built on consumerism and political aspirations and desires for personal gain. It is here to the depths of our own lives, to the solid rock beneath our intellectual perceptions of what life is all about, that we must return to get a better picture, a true version of our life story. In Jesus’ time in the ‘Wilderness’ He was tempted by three things, but these temptations were not only in the wilderness, you will see this pattern of facing up to these three challenges throughout His ministry. We need to see that the 40 days in the wilderness were not a once off event, but the principle of a lifetime
We read in Luke that Jesus was Baptized by John in the Jordan and then led by the spirit into the wilderness. We need to move beyond the idea that Jesus’ baptism was merely “An event”….. We need to move beyond wilderness as “an event” …..that on completion the box was ticked and the victory won and the deed done and then He and we moved on!
But as we confess in our own lives – Baptism is not the rite of a moment but the principal of a lifetime. Wilderness is the Principal of a lifetime….
The three challenges that Jesus faced and that we face daily are the three things that Israel had failed to overcome in its history. Jesus was showing us that these three have to be overcome. To walk with Jesus means to get these three things right!
Jesus was asked. Will you use your power to serve yourself, to meet your own immediate physical needs” – and He said – NO -life is about more than food and drink . What do you say?
Jesus was asked. “Don’t you want power and authority in the world and over the world.” And He said – “I will worship the Lord my God and serve Him only, I will not demand power for my own use. What about you? What authority and power are you seeking in the world?
Jesus was challenged to test God’s promises to the test, and He said No! What about you? Are you continually asking God to prove Himself to you? Demanding that God does what you need so that your following Him achieves your life’s dreams?
These are our daily challenges and we face them all the time.
Jesus is living intentionally – life is not just happening to Him. He chooses and He chooses to serve the Lord His GOD.
During Lent we are reminded of life’s temptations to make life all about the here and now and all about the me!
During lent we practice disciplines that help us to identify with the needs of others, and overcome our self-centeredness.
During lent we seek to deepen our understanding of God as we dig deeper into scripture, focus more on the work of God in our lives – not as a once off 40 day duty, but as the principal of a life time.
A time of deepening our spiritual walk and not just sticking some spiritual things onto our worldly lives – making new space going deeper and being transformed. Lent is about, finding the wilderness that lies beneath the life that we have created, the plans we have made, the distractions that we have filled our lives with, and building a new life on a solid foundation.
God has called you and He will not fail you. Are you building principals of a lifetime, are you forming life time habits, are you re-arranging your life this Lent? I pray that you are and that you will experience a new joy in serving Christ, because of it.
Be assured of my prayers!