The wilderness experience!

footsteps
What is a wilderness experience? Many of us have gone through it, or are going through it. It’s usually a time or season where a believer may be tested and endure trials of different kinds. It can involve spiritual, emotional, or financial drought and sometimes it happens right after a spiritual breakthrough or “mountaintop experience”.
Let’s take a closer look at the wilderness experiences that were found in the bible: the Israelites in the wilderness and Jesus in the wilderness.

The Israelites entered their season of wilderness wandering right after the spiritual miracle/ breakthrough of walking through the parted Red Sea, from the Pharaoh and Egypt.They wandered the wilderness for 40 years and the arrival at the promised land was delayed because of their complaining, unbelief, doubts, and rebellion against God. Their journey did not have to be 40 years long, as noted in Deuteronomy 1:2, the journey should have only taken 11 days, but they just continued to miss the mark.

Sometimes, we are like that as well. Sometimes we don’t get to the “promised land” on time, whatever it may be, because we are too busy focused on ourselves. We really need to tune into the heart of God and His plans for our lives.If you want to get closer to where God is leading you, it starts with changing your mindset. For example: if you are thinking negatively all the time, you are going to miss the mark. If you are complaining all the time, you are not going to recognize when God is speaking to you. If you always throwing a pity party about the difficult people or situations in your life, you are going to miss out on the great things He has set before you.

So, take a moment and reflect on your life and where you are at right now. If you are in a season of transition but you are walking around the same mountains over and over, chances are its because there are characteristics in you that need to be changed and a mindset that needs to be renewed. You will basically have to write the same test if you keep failing it. You may be in the wilderness for a long time because there are things in you that God wants to uproot and change.

The wilderness experience is a time where you can and should draw closer to God and connect with Him on a deeper level. It is a great way for you to learn faith and endurance to run the race.

When Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and nights, He was tempted by the devil but He resisted him. He drew closer to God and drew much strength from Him. We can learn so much from Jesus’ wilderness period, and there are great guidelines to surviving the wilderness experiences in our own lives.

Matthew 4:1-11 describes when Jesus was tempted by Satan while He was in the wilderness, just after He got baptized. Satan told Jesus to turn the stones into bread. Jesus responded by saying that “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (verse 4). In contrast, the Israelites cared so much about the food they were eating and complained about every little thing, they failed to remember the land that God promised them.

God doesn’t want us worrying about tomorrow, or the next day, we wants us to fully trust that He will take care of us just like He takes care of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.

birdToday, while I was at home with my daughter, a bird flew onto my window sill and was sitting there and making some noise. I picked up my daughter and showed her the bird and I was instantly reminded of the lyrics from a song, “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He is watching over me”. I couldn’t help but smile, because God used that bird to remind me that whatever is on my mind and what ever worries I may have, I just need to release it to Him because He will take care of me….just like He takes of the birds of the air. Even though they may be small creatures, God has a plan for them and is watching over them as well.

Another area of temptation that Satan tried was to get Jesus to test God. Jesus responded to Satan in verse 7 by saying, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God”. In comparison, we can see that the Israelites complained and kept asking God for stuff and testing Him, that He had no choice but to sentence them to wander for 40 years in the wilderness.

 

 The last area that Jesus was tempted was worship. Satan basically told Jesus in verse 9 that if He worshiped him, he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Jesus responded by saying “Away with you Satan. For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve”. The Israelites had a difficult time with worshipping God that they decided to create golden calfs and worship those because they wanted to keep themselves busy while Moses went up to the mountain to receive the laws of the Lord. God will keep us in the wilderness until all the golden calfs in our lives are meaningless to us. Maybe the golden calves in your life are your material possessions, your career, your status, fame, fortune etc. Whatever you are exalting above the Lord is considered an idol and He does not want you to worship anyone but Him.

dueseasonDo you think you are in a wilderness season? If so, God is likely drawing you closer to Him. There may be mindsets and other things in you that God wants to change and you need to allow Him to.

Satan may also try to tempt you in ways that may entice you, but you are a child of God and He always provides a way out. Stay on track with the course that the Lord has paved before you.

“Let us not grow weary in doing what is good, for in due season, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”- Galatians 6:9.

 

The wilderness may seem unbearable, uncomfortable or even painful, but its important to keep drawing your strength from God. You are in a transitional season and God is going to bring you into a new place. He wants you to grow deeper in Him and write His promises on the tablets of your heart. Trust that He is watching over you and guiding your steps.

 

-Briana Uthayacumaran
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