POP QUIZ: THE WILDERNESS TEST
"...Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God," Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV).
"Let us run with perseverance...." Ouch! I don't always like that word. I like it easy. Don't you like it easy? This race that we're in is not a 100-yard dash. In fact, the Passion Translation calls it a "marathon race" (Hebrews 12:1 TPT). I like to call it a cross-country race because it's got twists and turns, valleys and mountains. Everybody is in the race.
God is at work in the circumstances of your life! Where are you right now in your life? If you're on the mountaintop, enjoy it! But maybe you're not on the mountain- maybe you're in the valley. Be encouraged- you're not alone. We all are going to go through testing once in awhile. Even Jesus went through testing in the wilderness (Luke 4)!
You can either be like a chicken, with your eyes on your circumstances, or you can be like an eagle and soar above your circumstances. Paul is telling us to "fix our eyes on Jesus," (Hebrews 12:2). The enemy is always trying to get our eyes off of Jesus.
John 1:14 tells us that, "The Word became flesh." One of my mentors told me, "You love Jesus as much as you're in the Word." Get in the Word and meditate on it so you can keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything," James 1:2-4 (NIV).
There's that word again: perseverance. I don't like the Wilderness test, but I like what I see on the other side of it. If you're in the wilderness right now, you probably feel dry. You may be lonely. You may not be able to sense His presence, but you cannot go by your feelings- you must go by the Word. Here's what James (1:4) says: "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." You need to get in the Word so you can know His promises, and persevere!
Sometimes, when we are in the wilderness, circumstances come up and we wonder, "What have I done wrong?" Many Christians interpret discomfort as an indication that things are not well with their spiritual life, but God uses circumstances to test and develop us in the principles of His nature and Kingdom. The wilderness test reveals our potential to change and enter a new level of growth! Get your eyes off of your circumstances, fix them on Jesus, and stand on the promises found in the Word of God!
Pastor Ed Langeliers | Executive Pastor - New Life