about-bg about-bg

Watch/Listen

Life is not JUST a Test

• Greg Boyd

All humanity faces temptation. Part of being completely human is to deal with times of strong temptations. Jesus was fully man and fully God, therefore, His humanity allowed Him to face these temptations and to overcome them with the same tools He has given us-God’s word. Jesus was “led into the desert by the Spirit”, but once there he found that part of this wilderness experience was to be a time of testing and temptation for Him.

Show Extended Summary Hide Extended Summary

All humanity faces temptation. Part of being completely human is to deal with times of strong temptations. Jesus was fully man and fully God, therefore, His humanity allowed Him to face these temptations and to overcome them with the same tools He has given us-God’s word. Jesus was “led into the desert by the Spirit”, but once there he found that part of this wilderness experience was to be a time of testing and temptation for Him.

Many scholars agree that Jesus’ wilderness experience was meant to draw a parallel between Jesus-the new Israel and Israel’s time of testing in the wilderness. Jesus quotes scriptures from the “testing tradition” in Deuteronomy. For example, in Deut. 8:2-3 the full scripture says, “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that people do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” God told the Israelites to collect only a days worth of food to test their faith-would the Israelites depend on God’s word or their own “common sense”? Jesus sets the example for us as He shows us His choice to trust God instead of “common sense” throughout this testing time in the wilderness. By doing this Jesus becomes the new Israel and therefore all who have faith in Him are a part of new Israel, Jew and Gentile.

A second question we ask ourselves is why did God test Jesus and why did He test Israel? The scriptures seem to point to two clear reasons of testing and two main outcomes. The first is that God wants our hearts to be revealed, testing is to reveal our true hearts toward God and His word. Secondly, testing is to change our hearts so that we are able to become more trustworthy. This will result in a process of testing and refinement repeated over and over again throughout our faith journey. Testing is a tool to help us grow into who God has made us to be.

As we enter the New Year let’s begin to look at our lives through the lens of testing and refinement. When we are faced with decisions where we are tempted to be selfish, or to follow our own way, let’s remember that God is testing and refining us to spend eternity rejoicing with Him. Not everything that happens in our lives is a test from God, but how we respond to life’s everyday ups and downs and to bigger events does shape our future and how God will use us. Although temptations may be difficult to overcome now, it is encouraging to know that we can have victory over them with Jesus!

Hide Extended Summary

Topics: Faith, Temptation, Transformation


Downloads & Resources

Audio File
Study guide (opens new window)
Slides
Transcript


Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 4:1-13

    Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

    The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."

    Jesus answered, “It is written: 'People do not live on bread alone.' “

    The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours."

    Jesus answered, “It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.' “

    The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:
    “ 'He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;

    they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' “

    Jesus answered, “It is said: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' “

    When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Subscribe to Podcast Buy Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*

 

testimonial-icon

"Your gift of the website to those of us who are unable to attend is greatly appreciated. I am disabled and home-bound now. Having your website available to me has been such a blessing."

– Renae