This devotional is a part of devotional series “The Ultimate Rockstar: Parallels Between the Life and Times of Jesus Christ and the Life of an Artist”. For more info, Click here.
Main scripture references: Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13
Scripture to reflect on: John 4:34
One of the most difficult things that everyone has to deal with at some point is waiting. No matter where you are in your career, there will be a time where you will have no choice. If you’re just starting out, you’ll have to wait for your big break. If you’re selling out arenas, you’ll have to wait to see if what your next move is will continue the momentum of your success. No one is exempt from having to wait for the unknown in what feels like the wilderness portion of life.
During these times of waiting to get to the next level of success, one of the key things to remember that can really help you during this time is that a period of waiting is a time of preparation and testing. It’s during these times where it will be revealed exactly what your definition of success is and how much it means to you. It seems to always happen right on the brink of a big change too. This is what happened to Jesus when he was tested in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights- before he started his ministry that completely changed the course of the world and eternity.
Let’s check out how Jesus handled the wilderness like a rock star.
How Did I Even Get Here?
Before Jesus was turning out weddings with miracles and turning over tables in the temple, he went through a 40 day/ 40 night fast in the wilderness. The bible says he was led into the wilderness by God. That right there says a lot. There are times of waiting that we go through where we feel so lost and unsure that we begin to wonder if we are really where we are supposed to be. In actuality, it is exactly where we are supposed to be because God led us there. There are just some lessons and answers that you can’t get without seclusion.
So what did Jesus do when he was in the wilderness alone? He fasted and prayed the entire time. God the Father had his undivided attention. When you find yourself in the wilderness, not sure what your next move should be, it is so imperative that you are in a place mentally and spiritually that you can hear from God. Fasting and praying for whatever length of time that is right for you is imperative to that. Also, what you expose yourself to during a time of waiting is critical. This is a good time to feed yourself on things like the word of God that give strength to your spirit. Where your flesh may feel weak, your spirit will be getting stronger and stronger.
During this time in the wilderness, Jesus was not alone completely. He had company, the absolute worst company. The devil was right there relentlessly tempting him every step of the way. It’s not until the end of Christ’s 40 days do we get specifics on what his plans were to trip him up. What Satan attempted to trick Jesus into at the end of his fast are some of the same tactics that he uses to trick us up today. Here’s how Jesus handled it and here’s how we can too.
Temptation in the Wilderness #1- What are you willing to do when you’re hungry?
In the music business, I am constantly hearing about people being hungry. “Man, I’m on my grind. I’m hungry for this!” At times it seems almost like it’s this boasting of having some sort of voracious appetite for success by any means necessary. Being driven in this business is essential for sure. However what can be so dangerous about that is if you are hungry for the wrong things or in this case even the right things but by the wrong means. For instance, there is no doubt that after 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness that Jesus was beyond being literally hungry. Knowing this, Satan says “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Now here’s the thing: the bible says that Jesus was at the end of his fast (Luke 4:2). He was good to eat at that moment. So why didn’t he just do it? One could think he didn’t do it to spite Satan but let’s look at this a little differently.
Jesus answered ““It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). This is a reference, a throwback if you will, to Deuteronomy 8 where Moses is reminding the children of Israel of how God provided for them when they were in the wilderness.
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
First of all, let’s just talk about how important it is to know the word of God for yourself. If Jesus, who is the word that became flesh (John 1), chose to stand on this word while tempted, how much more should we when we are tempted? It’s our sword in battle (Ephesians 6:10-18) and when the flesh is weak (which not eating for 40 days will do to a person), you are definitely going to need it. It reminds you of who God is and who you are in Him. Secondly, Jesus could’ve very well said “This has nothing to do with you Satan but excuse me while I turn this bread into some pizza. I haven’t eaten in 40 days.” but he didn’t. He didn’t because just like God provided for the children of Israel with manna, food that could only come from God, Jesus was not about to take matters into his own hands. He didn’t have to prove who he was. He knew who he was. And because of who he was, a child of God, he knew that he was entitled to the provision that would only come from God. He didn’t know when but still he expected it. Getting this right may indeed be the difference between being in the wilderness for 40 days (Jesus) or 40 years (the children of Israel).
Interestingly enough, there is a part later on in the story of Jesus where the disciples tell Jesus that he should probably eat something (you know they did do a lot of walking in those days) and he says:
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.- John 4:34
At the end of the day, if your desire is to follow Christ, the success that truly feeds you is going to look a lot differently than the success that feeds others.
Waiting can be a pain. There are times where you are going to start feeling impatient and will be tempted to rely on your own talents and your own resources to provide for yourself in order to gain success when you know that God is really urging you to wait on Him. But come on now. Do you really think that you can provide for yourself better than God? Yes the wait can be heavy but the wait is worth it. Don’t sell yourself short trying to do it on your own. Especially when your breakthrough could be right around the corner.
We’ll look at the second temptation in When the Wait is Heavy- Part 2 coming soon…