Introduction: Each one of us are sure to have some good times and challenging times as we make our way through this thing called life. Today’s discussion focuses on some principles related to making it through our desert like situations. The thesis for this discussion is, "We should be mindful of pleasing God, deserts, and angles."
1. Working faith. Notice in vs. 11 that Jesus was pleasing to God the Father. Passages like Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17; and James 2:17 support the idea that in order for us to be pleasing to God, we have to have a living faith that is based on understanding and obeying God’s will.
At the top of the list is the matter of salvation. We must make sure that we have asked and are trusting God to save and forgive us because Jesus died and paid for our sins (see Jn. 3:16; Rom. 6:23). Let’s work on pleasing God as saved people with living faith.
2. Chief Commandments. Notice that Mark 12:29-31 teaches that the chief commandments are to love God with all that we have and to love others, as we love ourselves.
Loving God should include prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word in every area of our lives, paying our tithes and giving our offerings (see Mt. 6:21), and worshiping Him with enthusiasm.
Loving ourselves should include being a wise steward of our mindsets, health, and wealth (see Pro. 4:23; I Cor. 6:19-20; and Lk. 19:13-27).
Loving others should include being friendly, helping the less fortunate, advocating for fair and merciful systems, and special emphasis on evangelism. Let’s work on having a living faith that focuses on the chief commandments.
3. Deserts still come. Notice in vs. 12 that Jesus was in a desert place. In like manner, no matter how pleasing we may be to God, we can find ourselves in a desert place and facing satanic attack.
Studying, serving, and giving does not put us on the “no deserts” list (see Mt. 5:45b). We may have desert like experiences and face satanic attacks in our relationships, our mental/physical health, our finances, our church, and/or our communities. Let’s be mindful that deserts can still come into our pleasing lives.
4. Three possibilities. Notice in Galatians 6:7; James 1:12; and Luke 21:12-13 that we find three possibilities for why we are in a desert. First, Galatians 6:7 teaches that we reap what we have sown. Some of today’s troubles is the reaping of what was sown earlier in life. Think about decisions we made related to our finances, health, and relationships.
Second, James 1:12 supports the idea that sometimes we go through rough times to help us be stronger. Think about how coming through sick days help us trust God to be a doctor in a sick room today.
Third, Luke 21:12-13 supports the idea that sometimes God brings us through rough times, so we can be of assistance to those who are going through rough times as well. Let’s be mindful of the possibilities for our being in a desert.
5. Angels in the desert. Notice passages like Hebrews 1:14; 13:2; and Jeremiah 29:7. God can provide angelic assistance in our desert like situations. In other words, God can bless you in that neighborhood, on that job, in your current marital status (i.e., single or married), and in that church.
Passages like Romans 8:28 remind us that God has plans for our lives beyond what we can see right now. Just as God had more for Jesus’ life and ministry, God has more for every believer. Let’s live like we believe that God is still working out a plan for our lives.
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