A Time of Testing
Have you established some goals and plans for the New Year? If you haven’t taken time to pray and seek God for at least two or three goals for this year, I want to encourage you to do this. You can go to our Crown of Beauty International Website, click on the “More” tab at the top of the website page, then click on “Resources,” and then the “His Heartbeat – Episode 19 – New Year Worksheet”). Once you have these goals, it is time for the next step. Prepare for a time of testing!
After Jesus was baptized by water and the Holy Spirit, he set out to begin His ministry. He began this with a forty-day fast. Fasting is an excellent way to begin the New Year as it can help you get clarity and discernment as to how to move into the year. The Lord was led by the Holy Spirit to spend time in prayer in an undistracted place – the desert. However, during this time, Satan attacked Him three times with temptations. This Satanic encounter reminds us that the enemy tries to get us off course when we make plans to live out God’s will. We need to be alert of the roaring lion prowling about with a desire to destroy (see 1 Peter 5:8).
Read Luke 4:1-13 to see the ways Satan tempted Jesus and how the Lord countered the evil one’s lies. We can learn lessons from these three attacks on our Lord that we can apply to ourselves to be able to stay on track with God’s plans.
1. The enemy will try to lure you away from your goals by offering comforting / enjoyable things to distract you. When tempted with food, Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone.” Jesus rebuked the lie that pleasures of this world are more important or rewarding than staying focused on following God’s will. Write down what pleasures tend to pull you away from fulfilling God’s plans? For example, excessiveness of activities like TV watching, video games, texting or surfing the internet, eating, and your hobbies. Ask the Lord to help you stay focused. You may want to ask somebody to hold you accountable.
2. The enemy will attempt to twist your goals, so your focus is on yourself, not on bringing glory to God. Satan tempted Jesus by offering to bring glory to Him if He would worship Satan instead of God. Ask the Lord to show you what your motives for your New Year’s goals are. Are your goals to bring glory to God or to bring attention, recognition, acceptance, or glory to yourself? Confess any self-centered motives and ask the Lord to help you realign your goals to bring glory to Him.
3. The enemy will tempt you to doubt the character of God, especially when you are going through difficult times, and it seems your prayers are not being answered. Satan said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here” (Luke 4:9). Jesus’ response was, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (Luke 4:12). When things get tough, it is easy to begin to question God. The enemy puts lies in our minds about the character of God. When we doubt God’s goodness, power, love and authority, our tenacity to resist sin weakens. Confess your doubts and then spend extended time in worship with songs and reading Scriptures focused on the character of God.
Don’t be surprised if the New Year begins with times of testing. The enemy wants to discourage you and defeat you from carrying out the plans that God has for you. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
- Sue Corl