When I was in the military some time ago, I was known for asking my soldiers “Are you sure?” Why did I ask this? I discovered very quickly that once someone came across an excuse, albeit true or not, they used it – assumed it as the truth – and moved on to the next issue at hand. Unfortunately, more times than not, the original (surface) answer given is not always the underlying and root issue or cause at hand. Many times there are deeper more fundamental, foundational reasons for something being the way it is.
So what does this have to do with Scripture? I am often asked, how do I get closer to God? Why can’t I feel the Holy Spirit with me? Today I was NOT looking for an answer to that question, but I believe I found a reason for it:
1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
” ‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”
7Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”
11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
You may be asking, Huh? I don’t get it. Think about it. Prior to this time, there is no record of the angels attending Jesus. This is the story prior to the beginning of an extraordinary ministry by Jesus on earth. But prior to gaining such Heavenly support for His ministry, Jesus was tested. He was essentially being asked “Are you sure?”
The Devil tempted Him again and again. Jesus had been physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. His time alone in the wilderness lasted 40 days. He was being challenged to ensure He was ready, competent, and willing to undergo the mission that God had sent Him on.
Today, we all undergo our own challenges. But we run into temptation, questions, and diversions. Maybe we are being tested “Are we sure” that we really want to follow God? Are we being 100% obedient to God? Or have we failed the test? If we fail the test, I presume that the angels don’t come to attend us like they did Jesus. On the flip side, if and when we do pass the test, then the angels will come and protect us.
Today our challenge is to be 100% positively committed to God. “Are you sure” you’re ready?