Devotional: Benefit of Solitude
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1 NAS95)
The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for a period of forty days. Luke indicates the Spirit also led Him around in the wilderness during those days. We know Jesus ate nothing for the entire time. No people, no food, no beauty, just barrenness surrounding Him. You'd think after forty days of deprivation, Jesus would sink to His weakest? Yet in that barren space He experiences the strengthening of total dependency upon God. Absence meant Presence, attention to God. In that empty space, Jesus grew spiritually empowered to handily defeat His opponent.
Lent begins this week and the forty-day design reflects Jesus' time in the wilderness. The trick for us concerns learning the counter-intuitive of solitude with abstinence as producing strength. Why? We naturally think the many things we use or do day-to-day build our strength, but we neglect to see they easily crowd out our ability to attend to God and respond to Him. Jesus prompted by the Spirit entered the space where His total dependence upon God became radically apparent. In the noisy ocean of daily life, I easily lose sight of God and my need to depend on Him. Lent reminds me to abstain from that which distracts me from God and to enter the wilderness of dependence upon Him so His strength can pervade.
May God bless you and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you.
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