“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). What an incredible verse. Matthew boldly states that God’s Spirit led Christ into a desert experience, where he would have to undergo severe temptations. Even more amazing, this verse directly follows a scene of great glory when Jesus had just been baptized in the Jordan River. As he came up out of the water, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and rested on his shoulder. “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:17).
One could wonder if God was so pleased with Jesus, why did he then lead him into a wilderness experience? Let me remind you that Jesus is the pattern for our lives as believers. John writes, “As He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Moreover, Christ was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). The message from scripture is that all who are in Christ will undergo a trying experience, just as Jesus did.
Such trials come only to those who walk in the Spirit and commune with the Lord. Yet, when the Holy Spirit leads us into the wilderness, God has an eternal purpose in mind. Make no mistake, however; God doesn’t tempt us, the devil does the tempting. “Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (James 1:13).
Jesus would not be tempted by gross sin because he was righteous; his temptations would be in the spiritual realm. The same is true for us today. A truly spiritual person probably isn’t tempted to get drunk or use drugs, but his temptations will be more like those Christ endured — disobeying the Word or testing your dependence on the Father.
Do not let the devil rob you of your anointing or undermine your calling. Stand on the Word of God and you will come through in victory — just as Jesus did.