Lent Series – “WildernessTime”
1st Sunday – A Time to Learn
Monday: A Time for Learning – Mark 1: 12-15 & Luke 4: 1-13
There are times in every Christian’s life when, for reasons known only to God, we are led into a spiritual wilderness. These are times when we feel spiritually dry and desolate and feel removed from the presence of God. But these can be times of accelerated learning – albeit the ‘hard way.’ In particular, we get to learn what the priorities that govern our lives are. In these scripture passages, we see the devil tempt Jesus in the areas of wealth, fame and power. What are the potential weaknesses which you need to learn to resist?
Tuesday: Cannot Serve Two Masters – Matthew 6: 19-24
Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables in the NT are involved with money in one way or another. This is indicative of the fact that Jesus recognised the important role played by money in our everyday life. But he also knew it was easy for possessions to become the be-all and end-all of our lives. If wealth is paramount in our lives, we will care little for the things of eternity. We need to learn that no amount of money will secure a place in eternity but a life of faith and trust in the gracious provision of God will open the gates of heaven.
Wednesday: Do Not Worry! – Matthew 6: 25-34
We need to be careful how we read this passage. Jesus is not advocating that we should hand our lives entirely over to God, absolving ourselves from all responsibility. He expects us to act wisely and prudently, safe in the knowledge that, as a child of God, we can trust that ‘all things will work for our good’ (Rom 8:28) even if sometimes it doesn’t look that way. We need to learn there are two ways to minimise worry. The first is to ‘seek God’s kingdom’ and make it our highest priority. And the second is to live one day at a time.
Thursday: Prepare Yourself – 2 Timothy 2: 21-26
Jesus’ time in the wilderness – coming just before he was to begin his public ministry – was a time of preparation; a time of learning God’s purpose for his life. Very often, in the busy-ness of life, we don’t have the time or the motivation to ask ourselves the important questions of life. When things are working well we prefer to ‘let sleeping dogs lie’! God often has to take us down dark and difficult paths to prepare us for the next spiritual chapter in our lives.
Friday: A Thorn in the Flesh – 2 Corinthians 12: 1-10
Misguidedly, some churches preach a gospel of happiness and prosperity. They lead people to believe that life should be ‘all roses’ for Christians. Paul warns us about the thorns that accompany the roses! God can often use a persistent trial or difficulty to keep us dependent on His grace. Without the wilderness to show up our weaknesses, we would never learn to put our lives in God’s hands.
Saturday: Be Content – Philippians 4: 10-14
Paul teaches us one of the hardest lessons of faith – to be content in every circumstance. We will never learn the lesson of true contentment until we are confronted by the wilderness experience. It’s only then that we can learn to depend entirely on God, not just with pious words but with our lives. If you’re not sure how qualified Paul was to say this, then read 2 Corinthians 11: 23-33.