#8 What the Gospels Teach - Temptation - Matthew 4:1

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)

This verse alone should shatter the pathetic ‘Best Life Now’ Churchianity that so permeates American Christendom. Following the baptism of Christ, and the Holy Spirit lighting on Him, He is led by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil. Please realize the Holy Spirit does not make life easier! The Holy Spirit is not a tool to ward off evil, or a happy pill to make us feel good. Think about this: When did the intense persecution of the disciples occur? After Pentecost! In fact immediately after being filled with the Spirit they were labeled drunks. Saul had authority and riches, and people under him, until he was filled with the Spirit and then he spent his time in prisons and on sinking ships. All the disciples faced intense persecution after being filled. Jesus was led by the Spirit into great difficulty, the disciples were led by the Spirit into difficulty... what makes us think we are different?

The filling of the Holy Spirit always leads to temptation, persecution, and discomfort. Yes the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Realize however that God is most glorified when these fruits are displayed in the most difficult situations, and recall the primary reason a person is filled with the Holy Spirit is to bring glory to God. So if you lead a person to Christ, rest assured you have led them into a trap, a place of temptation, persecution, and ridicule... but also a place of blessed fruitfulness joy and peace.

We will talk a little bit more about all of this when we get to the beatitudes in Matthew 5. Christianity is a paradox, our wholeness is only found in our brokenness. The Holy Spirit is not a guide to your Best Life Now, but a guide to real and true contentment, which only comes in brokenness, and glorifying God in difficult situations.

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