“Now Jesus, full of [and in perfect communication with] the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness” (AMP, Emphasis mine).
You may return from a mission’s trip or a spiritual-high encounter on Cloud Nine ready to take on the world and find yourself on Ground Zero looking up from the dust. How did you get there? Are you under satanic attack? No, being full of the Spirit, and in perfect communication with Him, you may be led into the wilderness for a purpose. God has a pattern, purpose, plan, and process for you. You will come out of the wilderness strengthened.
John Ortberg talked about how God was going to take His people out of bad place (Egypt) to a good place (Promised Land) that should have involved a short walk that could be done in a week. He led them into the wilderness.
Like the children of Israel you may be aware of your promised land but it seems so far away and the journey there seems unclear. Brad Bailey in his online lesson wrote, “If you were to picture your life in terms of what happened to the people of God, I believe you would be able to identify times in which you relate to God’s calling you out like Abraham… to a new land and life. Times when you feel enslaved in Egypt. Times of deliverance. Times you stepped into the Promised Land. But also times in life when you may identify with wandering in the wilderness.”
Pastor Aaron Batchelor recently mentioned in one of his sermons, “Don’t waste your wilderness.” Excellent advice! What is God’s purpose for leading you into the wilderness? What can you learn from the experience? Many times people are concerned about their location: where am I going? Other times, their vocation: what has God called me to do? God is more interested in who you are becoming as a person. What will you be? He may be most concerned about who you are rather than where you are.
Here are ten points to prevent you from wasting your wilderness.
- Wilderness experiences are critical to our spiritual growth and formation. Thrive in it!
- In the wilderness experience don’t be surprised when the devil comes alongside to tempt you.
- Don’t merely ask, “How do I get out of the wilderness?” But, “What can I get out of the wilderness?” What lessons can be learned from the experience?
- God is not in a hurry. He cares about what you are learning and becoming.
- Like Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness depend on God’s Word. Quote it. Believe it.
- Take life one day at a time. Have faith for the daily provision. Lean on God. He is your anchor.
- The Torah was given in the middle of the wilderness experience perhaps as a reminder while the Promised Land is delightful and amazing, we learn our greatest lessons in the wilderness.
- There is a great need to better understand the processes of God. Follow God’s process in order to gain God’s promise. You will survive between the season of promise and fulfillment.
- In the wilderness we learn to trust God for everything: shoes, water, food, warmth—everything.
- In Hebrew, the word for wilderness is midbar which at its root has the meaning of “speak” or “word.” God speaks to us in the wilderness. Have open ears to listen and an open heart to obey.
“The wilderness is not just a place of disappointment. It’s also the furnace of transformation” (John Ortberg). Don’t waste your wilderness!