Daily Devotional


Spirit of Sonship and the Desert

by Simon Whitton

10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
11 And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert,
13 and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Mark 1:10-13 (NIV)

Many of us would love to have the Spirit of God descend upon us, like He did Jesus. But immediately the Holy Spirit takes Jesus into the desert, into a place of wild animals, temptation, sparse provision, testing and danger, a place of loneliness, where life has to be lived one day at a time.  Probably not what we had in mind if we imagined the effects of the Spirit coming upon us.

We have to travel through the desert to get to the promised land.  It was the Spirit of the Lord who led the nation of Israel into the wilderness, going ahead of them in a pillar of cloud and fire.  As the people of God, we are not exempt.  It is part of the race marked out for us.  The Spirit we receive causes us to share in Christ's sufferings that we may also share in His holiness and glory.

15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:15-18 (NIV)

The desert experience may include suffering, but God will sustain us.  Just before leading Jesus into the desert, a voice from Heaven told Him "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."  When we're in the desert place, perhaps the most sustaining thing is that we know that our Heavenly Father has those same words for us.  Not because we've earned His love, but because we have received the Spirit of sonship by faith.  God is our Father and we are co-heirs with Christ.

Spend some time in prayer and thank God that you are greatly loved as His child. Thank Him that there is immense purpose in sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Pray that you would not fear, or harden your heart during this time of testing, but that you'd persevere and find strength in Him; and look forward to the glory that will be revealed in you.

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