Prepared in the Wilderness

March 18, 2024

“Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
– Romans 12:2

There is a strange paradox that comes from a wilderness experience. We seldom enjoy them, but we often benefit from them. Slumps,  losing streaks and injuries are just a few of the wilderness experiences coaches and athletes confront. We study film, change up practice schedules and question our ability to get back on the field or court. We fight to keep our minds from thinking the worst and we stay focused on the day to day process praying that we will come out on the other side sooner than later. Quality leaders can almost always point to a wilderness experience as part of their leadership preparation. John Maxwell says, “During this time, our motives get purified, our backbone solidifies, and our calling gets clarified.”

The devil tempted Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness. Jesus held firm against all of Satan’s demands. He never questioned the fact that He could trust the Heavenly Father to provide. Henry Nouwen, in his book In the Name of Jesus, reminds us that the three temptations of Jesus correspond to three temptations leaders face today. The world tempts us to be self-sufficient—Jesus trusted God. The world tempts us to be spectacular–Jesus would not perform in order to be a celebrity. The world tempts us to be powerful—Jesus would not take a shortcut to gain power. Jesus gives us the standard for defeating temptation—He never lost!
 
Heavenly Father, deliver us from temptation today. Help us to trust You completely when we find ourselves facing a wilderness experience. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.  

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