Discover His heart: Through the way we live, He sees our sincere repentance. He gives the power of the Holy Spirit and His Word to counter the enemy’s attacks.
John the Baptist certainly had a unique style of ministry. “When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented.” (3:7-8) Wouldn’t that approach draw the crowds today! Perhaps he was dining on too many locusts and not enough wild honey, and, of course, camel hair can be so scratchy. (Matthew 3:4)
Actually, this voice in the wilderness, filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb, discerned that many had come to hear his message merely to escape eternal punishment as if he were a lucky charm. He was looking for true repentance of sins and a changed life. John told his listeners to prove that they had repented by showing generosity, honesty and kindness to one another at the very least. (3:10-14) Great advice from the wilderness evangelist!
I’ve always known those who consider church-going their lucky charm, keeping the Big Guy happy with them, but never allowing His power to change their lives. Because God loves their souls, He often allows challenging situations to occur in their lives to get their attention and to turn their hearts toward Him. This is when we are able to step in to encourage and undergird them with generosity, honesty and kindness expressed by John in Chapter 3. Time and time again I’ve seen those out on the fringe of God’s grace turn to a genuine relationship with Him.
It’s interesting to note that while Jewish Matthew’s genealogy only went back to Abraham, Luke the Greek went all the way back to Adam, proving once again that Jesus, our elder brother, is related to all mankind. Luke’s love of details blesses me.
@ Luke 4
I wish I could say that our walk with the Lord is paved only with wonderful moments, but that wouldn’t be true. Fresh out of the carpentry shop at age 30, Jesus was baptized in water, filled with the Holy Spirit and started His ministry in the wilderness with a full-fledged frontal attack by Satan. And sometimes we think we’re having a bad day!
The record of this encounter is filled with many truths about the Kingdom of God, but two of them stood out today in my reading. Satan had been successful in his temptation of Adam and Eve, and the failure of Jesus would certainly have been a plus for him. However, even trying to tempt Jesus proves one glaring fact: Satan does not know the future. Although he often confronts us with fears and outcomes that sound prophetic in nature, he’s just guessing! He is offering only what he wishes to be true, and we should resist him just like Jesus did.
How did Jesus resist him? By quoting scripture! The two-edged sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in our armor against the enemy. (Eph. 6:17) When He was under attack, Jesus did not hesitate to bring out His Sword to take down His attacker. We keep our weapon sharp and ready for use by our daily attention to the Word and its application to our lives. The enemy knows scripture too, but Satan’s misuse of scripture in his encounter with Jesus left him powerless – knowledge without relationship is futile.
Being the slow learner that he is, the enemy will make many attempts to bring us down just as he tried with Jesus, but armed with our fine-tuned weapon and filled with the Holy Spirit, we are invincible! “Submit yourselves, then, to God,” is the often neglected part of James 4:7. Submit first to Him and to His Word, then, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (NIV) Armed and dangerous!
Moving Forward: As I carry with me His Word today, I face the day armed and dangerous against any attacks. With generosity, honesty and kindness – proof of a changed life – I will undergird and encourage those that He is drawing into a true relationship with Him.
Tomorrow @ 2 Corinthians 11-13