Sister Amba gave a great message this week on our responses to the challenges and confrontations with the world. She illustrated her theme with references to Matthew 4, and Jesus’ time in the wilderness.
She noted that Jesus had just had a tremendous spiritual experience at His baptism, and then was led by the Spirit into the desert. Here Amba reflected on her own experiences of spiritual highs (such as retreats and conferences) and how she faced “attacks” which sought to take her down from upon the mountain.
Jesus too, faced the same thing in Matthew 4. Satan confronted him after He had been hungry, and the “mountain” experience of the baptism was forty days old. Satan attacked on several fronts, including provision, protection, and honour. In each case Jesus responded with Scripture!
Jesus was not only the Word made flesh, but he also abided in the revealed word. What an example. Amba then drew a parallel to Eve in the Garden. She had not received the direct revelation from God to not eat from the tree, but only the word as given to her by Adam. She had been told, but not personally witnessed. Was this the cause of her fall? Jesus however had the word on His lips. He was ready “in season and out” to make a reply. We need to be Jesus-like. When the world pushes, we need not push back, but rather we need to push in on the Word at our core.
This inner reliance on the “power within” will aid us in fulfilling God’s plan for us. Our example and witness will be enhanced. Striking or pushing back against the world will never accomplish that (no matter how personally satisfying the temptation might seem to be).
First Thessalonians 5: 14 – 15 reminds us,
“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”
We need to remember that the prophets, and saints of the scriptures were harassed, and attacked. But God was with them. He is with us too. His strength is in control, and we are in His hand. Our striking out, is not necessary. Isaiah 43 reminds us,
” . . . you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you (v 4) . . . . Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it? (v 13)”
We are loved by Him, no one can take us from Him. Better still let Him act. We need not push back, we are in His hand. We need to push into his grip!