Written by: Kristen Oliver
Man… it has been a long time since I have written a blog post. Not to say I haven’t been writing, it’s hard for me to go several days without writing, but I have felt overwhelmed by the idea of putting my thoughts together coherently enough to post for all the world to see. Well probably not the whole world, but you get the idea, it seemed an overwhelming task that I couldn’t bring myself to do. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that during this time I was very stressed and anxious. From the beginning of April until now, we have been in the midst of buying a home, fixing it up, and moving to Zephyrhills (which I am not even sure is still in Florida with how many farms and wildlife there are). Even though we only moved an hour away, a lot of the conveniences I’m used to are at least thirty minutes away. This is both good and bad. Good on the wallet and waistline, bad in the fact that I found comfort and familiarity in a lot of those places.
Although, not having Starbucks, Target or Chipotle in close proximity to my new home may seem like a “first world problem,” the idea of comfort and familiarity and temptation is not new. In Luke 4:1-2 it says,
“Jesus full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days and at the end of them he was hungry.”
I know what you’re thinking…Kristen being far away from Chipotle and Starbucks is not at all the same as Jesus being tempted in the wilderness! I agree. But what I found similar is we sensed the spirit guiding us to move. We knew where our next step was, we knew we would have to leave it all behind, and we were ready for it. Or at least we thought we were. Sometimes I think we feel that if the Holy Spirit leads us, it will be “beside quiet waters” (Psalm 23:2). Everything will be better, and the problems we had before will be over, because that’s why the spirit is leading us away from that stuff! But that isn’t necessarily true. He led Jesus into the desert for a long and difficult time of testing, and he may also lead us into difficult situations as well.
When facing trials:
Make sure you haven’t brought them on yourself through sin or unwise choices. If you find no sin to confess or unwise behavior to change, then ask God to strengthen you for your test.
Be careful to follow faithfully wherever the Holy Spirit leads (4:1).
Have you ever felt like you were doing what God called you to, but it’s harder than you expected?
Even though I wonder why I have to go through times of trial and temptation, this passage in Luke 4 really puts things into perspective for me. If the Holy Spirit tempted Jesus (who was God and man and never sinned) then why would we be treated any differently? So what was the purpose for tempting Jesus? He already was going to save the world from their sins, offer us grace and forgiveness, why would he need to be tempted? In Luke 4 we find two reasons:
Temptation is a part of the human experience. For Jesus to be fully human, for him to understand us completely, he had to face temptation.
Jesus had to undo Adam’s work. Adam, though created perfect gave into temptation and passed sin onto the whole human race. Jesus, by contrast, resisted Satan. His victory offers salvation to all of Adam’s descendants (4:2).
I am not going to say that moving was easy, because in a lot of ways it wasn’t, did I mention we also have 2 boys, which makes moving that much more interesting! There were several times where I questioned what we were doing and doubted that God would really ask Mike and I to do this, like who are we??? But through my doubts and questioning I kept coming back to the truth in God’s word, He kept reassuring us with every step.
I have found that times of questioning can help sort out our beliefs and strengthen our faith, but those times can also be dangerous.
If you are dealing with doubt, realize that you are especially vulnerable to temptation. Even as you search for answers, protect yourself by meditating on the unshakeable truths of God’s word (4:3).
This isn’t exactly the post I planned on writing after a 2 month hiatus, but as I sat down to write it’s what flowed out of me. Unexpected. Unplanned. Unaware. I like to plan ahead of time for my writing, estimate how long it will take to write, edit, how I will entertain the boys, and when I can fit I into my schedule. But my plans don’t always fit into God’s plans. When I finally give up control and allow him to flow through me, instead of my fears and worries, everything falls into place. So here I am. Starting over again. Continuing the good work, he started in me. What about you?
Where do you need to start over in your life and give God complete control?
As always I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback….Lets encourage one another. Let’s let our imperfections shine so God’s light can shine through us even stronger.
Saying goodbye to our home
Hello to our new home
We love our pallet wall!