It is recorded in Mark chapter 1 that after Jesus was baptized “immediately the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness”. That would seem to be an odd reward for making a total commitment to God the Father. After all, a voice was heard from heaven saying, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. But, even more strange is the word immediately. Was it so necessary that temptation take place so soon after a mountain-top experience? The answer to that is a resounding YES! It is, perhaps, the only time we have accumulated enough spiritual strength to endure what is to come and the lessons that we MUST learn. Jesus, Himself, “learned obedience by the things He suffered”. Heb.5;8.

As we ponder this we will all identify with the fact that many times we experience our lowest lows immediately after our loftiest highs. And even though we will question the severity of the lows and wonder why it was necessary, it is preparation for life’s deserts and gives us the strength to ‘endure to the end’. But, even beyond that, it is necessary that our faith be tested, for only when we have been tried in fire and the dross been removed are we fit for service. It is only then that we “can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 11 Cor. 1;4.

It is true that salvation is free, but to live the life of true faith is not and it may cost you everything you hold dear on earth . The most difficult of those things are loved ones and family and those of our church family that we have held so dear. It invariably comes when we stand for truth and we will never understand it completely. As we endure, however, The “fellowship of His suffering” will come clearly into view but rather than be a tremendous weight it will become a comfort and joy that binds those of truth. James said, ‘Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptation; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1;2-4.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. (When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)

Posted on December 19th, 2013