Most of us hate tests -- whether they're school tests, professional tests, or life tests. Spiritual tests are the most difficult of all. Yet in this passage, Jesus faces a test that the Spirit of God led him to experience. This test immediately confronts Jesus with a choice about the direction of his ministry: Would he take shortcuts or would he pay the full price of redeeming humanity? Jesus chose the long way, the hard way, the way of the cross and suffering. It's said that "The longest distance between two points is a shortcut!" Jesus refuses the shortcut and lives up to God's expectations for him as he is led by the Spirit. He refuses to compromise and chooses to be the obedient Son. There is great comfort for us in this. Because Jesus experienced temptation and was victorious, he can help us in our times of trials and temptations. (Heb. 2:18; Heb. 4:15) In addition, his Spirit leads us and molds us into greater strength as we follow him. Let's seek help in overcoming our own temptations, and the result will be victory just as Jesus conquered sin by overcoming all of his temptations!
Holy and Righteous Father, thank you for having Jesus face times of temptation. I believe he was perfectly holy, so his life helps me put mine into perspective. Thank you for giving me the Holy Spirit to help and strengthen me in my times of crisis and trial. Thank you for Jesus who sits at your side interceding for me as I face my temptations. May the testing of my faith -- the trials I face and the temptations Satan throws in my way -- produce greater character in me. I want people to see my character and know that I am seeking to honor you. In Jesus' name. Amen.