Guest Post: Jo Hilder
The most compelling part of scripture for me is when Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by the devil in the gospel of Matthew, 4:1-11.
Jesus addresses perhaps the most common fear responses of humanity.
- I will starve. I need to feed myself.
- I will get hurt. I need to stay safe.
- I will be a nobody. I need to be somebody.
All our resources are turned towards having these three basic needs met.
Jesus was no different. He was human.
The difference is Jesus was aware of His God-ness.
And so the temptation came in the form of a seduction by darkness for Christ to use his God-ness to relieve his human fears, rather than simply trusting in God-source to take care of him.
And likewise, I find myself misusing my own God-ness to allay my fears and meet my screaming, visceral needs, to feed my pride and self-esteem, to bed down my worry about being nobody and having nothing.
Where God would have me trust in him to give provision, peace and community,
I would rather strive for them, build them, grapple for them and say I worked for them.
Trusting seems too easy.
Although we all know, in a society where "basic needs" includes a house worth several hundred thousand dollars and groceries worth hundreds of dollars a week, when many live on a dollar a day, it can be much harder to trust God than it sounds.
Our darkness still pulls us towards listening to the fears of our soul.
I do not have enough.
I am unsafe and vulnerable.
I am no one, and nothing.
But the light calls us away from our fears.
What we have or don't have, where we are or are not, who we are or are not, is no measure of our worth or value.
Darkness says when we have all our needs met, our fears will leave us.
It will be a kind of sign of our power, or of God's favor.
But this isn't true. The wilderness is the wilderness. The wilds are the wilds.
Jesus was forty days hungry.
Jesus was exposed in the wilderness.
Jesus was a nobody out there, in the wilds with nothing.
The darkness left him when he answered his fears with truth.
"I'm hungry, but I can't live just on bread, I need more than that to be truly fed.
I'm unsafe, I can be hurt, I can even be killed out here, but testing God to save my life won't prove he exists to me.
Nobody knows I'm here, yes, I am no one with nothing, but owning all the kingdoms and dominion over them won't make me their king."
What do you need to truly fill your hunger?
What would it take for you to feel completely secure and safe?
What needs to happen before you feel like you're a someone who matters?
There are two sets of answers for you.
The answers of darkness, which our Jesus turned away from,
and the answers of light, which he embraced.
Which will you choose, and what does this mean for you?
Jo is an Australian writer, coach and speaker: website.
She shepherds a highly-interactive & nourishing FB group: Free-range Christians.