11/9 Matthew 4:1

1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Immediately after Jesus inaugurated His ministry by being baptized by John, the Spirit of God led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. I think it necessary to repeat what we see in the fine print at the bottom of the screen during car commercials as the car goes racing around. "Professional driver - closed course. Do not attempt." However, God does allow trials and temptations to strengthen us. The greenhouse plant that is suddenly moved into the harsh sun will wither and often die. The tree that grows up in the strong winds grows roots that can withstand the storms it regularly endures.

Jesus was establishing the fact that He was not going to rely on His own reasoning or take any short cuts to His goal. He would rely completely on the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We must establish the same reliance on the Father if we are to be useful to the kingdom of God. Our temptations will be in proportion to our strength (1 Corinthians 10:13). If we look to the LORD during each one, He will provide a way to escape.

The trials and temptations of life are necessary to help us grow in dependence on the LORD and faith in His Word. Don't look on them as burdens, but as tools to teach us. When we are victorious, we can take the lessons we learn to help others who are enduring similar trials or temptations. Whether you are enduring a physical affliction or a spiritual temptation, ask God how He can use it to make you stronger in Him. Then look for opportunities to encourage others that are going through a similar difficulty.

Consider: Keep a journal of the things God teaches you and illustrations that help you depend on God and overcome. It will be handy when you have opportunities to encourage others who are struggling with the same problems.