KEEPING HIS PREVIEWED PROMISES BEFORE YOU
Nobody, including the Christian, is exempt from problems, issues or challenges in life. However, sometimes those difficult situations can become not just moments, days, weeks or months of hardship, but a lengthy season of struggle.
Many believers refer to this period of life as being in the wilderness. The wilderness may be a season of our own making. The wilderness may have come about by outside influences or circumstances. The wilderness might be a direct attack from the enemy or the wilderness could be the direct result of our non-alignment with God's Word for our life. The wilderness is not only limited to individuals, but can also be applied to a family or a local church. In any one of these cases, if we are in the wilderness, the Lord has allowed for us to be there. But He has not meant for us to stay.
Abraham was instructed by God to take up camp and move across the wilderness into a foreign land that was promised to be his and his descendants. Abraham obeyed but found the wilderness not only dry, barren and hot - it also contained enemies, The Cannanites, and there was a famine in the land.
Moses was instructed and empowered to lead God's people out of Egypt, through the wilderness and into the promised land. Moses obeyed but found Egyptian armies pursuing him, a massive sea barricading him in, doubters on this side of the bank and on the other side when God miraculously provided for them. Where the enemy was in the land for Abraham, the enemy was within the camp already for Moses as a grumbling, lover of the status quo - spirit.
Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into The Wilderness. "In the narrative where Satan tempted Christ, we read, 'Then the tempter came to Him and said to Him...' (Luke 4:3). The tempter is 'the devil' or Satan (Luke 4:8, 10). The question is: Was this temptation in the form of mental thoughts that Satan shot in the form of fiery darts (Eph. 6:16), or did Satan himself appear visibly to Christ and speak audibly to Him? The narrative implies that the test was personally conducted by Satan face-to-face, and Christ heard the voice of His archenemy, as when the test concluded we read, 'the devil departed from Him and the angels came and ministered to Him' (Luke 4:11)." [p.111, This Season of Angels, Perry Stone]
The question for these three men and eventually us is - How do we get out of the wilderness? In the first two accounts - Abraham and Moses had a preview of land promised to them by God. Our hope of exiting the wilderness is first of all keeping our eyes fixed on the promise that was declared or goal that was set in the beginning. Life is a God-tethered journey of a movie that The Lord knows the end from the beginning. But sometimes we unhook that tether and that is when we find ourselves in a season of hardship and possible temptations.
However, with the third example above, The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to experience temptations and possibly other trials on our behalf during His forty day fast.
Temptation has at its core doubt in something or someone. The challenge to turn the stones into bread doubted God's Provision. The dare to jump from the top of the Temple doubted God's Protection. The invitation to worship Satan for all the earthly kingdoms doubted God's Promises in Christ. In addition, all of the tempting was targeted at two vulnerable points - (1) when Christ was alone and (2) at Christ's supposed weaknesses.
Now, Jesus physically responded to each temptation, declaring the truth of the matter by speaking the answer. The answer always began the same - "It is written....". However, I also personally believe Jesus kept Father God's preview of the End Result in His mind's eye as He went through the wilderness experience. In Hebrews 12:2, Scripture says, "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."
Notice the preview Jesus had - "For the joy set before Him". Notice He was able to use the Preview of the End Result as fuel to push Him through the entire Salvation Experience - "He endured the cross, scorning its shame". Notice He has made it to His Promised Land - "and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" - and because He has, His believers also are ensured this Promised Land - Heaven.
In the midst of our wilderness or season of challenges - "It is written..." must be the Christian's war-cry also. Our foundation, our source, our sustaining force must be The Belt of Truth or Word of God that holds everything together and upon which all the weapons of warfare hang (Ephesians 6:14). Christ Jesus is the way, The Truth and the life (John 14:6). All power to destroy the enemy's attacks, temptations or otherwise, is found in God's Word and thwarted by verbalizing "It is written...".
It is a good thing, with God's help, to fortify the areas in our life we know are weak and prone to temptation. However, should we find ourselves in a wilderness season remember - God does not desire you to stay. Whatever the challenge is, if it is an attack of the enemy, the start of resisting the devil and seeing him flee is declaring "It Is Written...". The other half of the equation is Keeping His Previewed Promises Before You.