Pursuing holiness

Published December 2, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Read: Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry (Matthew 4:1-2).

I can resist anything except temptation.” We might smile at this quip by Oscar Wilde, but it also may invite us to challenge ourselves: Has our pursuit of holiness—reflecting God and conforming to His will—been weakened through the corrosive influence of modern culture’s love of pleasure? How can we, as we seek to honor God, resist temptation?

Some believers continue the process of conforming to God’s will by observing the season of Lent. Traditionally, the forty days leading up to Easter Sunday and modeled after the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness, Lent has been a time for believers to examine their hearts, minds, and souls prayerfully. Some people abstain from certain foods or drinks, while others add positive behaviors, such as an act of daily kindness.

This season can be a time to seek the purifying work of the Holy Spirit as we prepare to celebrate the gift of our risen Savior. During Lent, we can remember Jesus’ testing in the wilderness, which came at the start of His ministry following His baptism (Matthew 3:13–4:1). He didn’t thunder into Jerusalem to seize authority, but—led by the Spirit—withdrew to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1). With the help of the Holy Spirit, He resisted the devil’s three temptations (to turn stones to bread, to jump off the temple, and to worship Satan), because He sought to follow the will of His Father (Matthew 4:3-10).

As we seek the help of the Holy Spirit, we too can follow Jesus’ example by standing firm against the devil, our fallen nature, and the world’s temptations. As we follow God’s will through His Spirit, we can begin to reflect His ways, not only in Lent but throughout our lives. May we pursue holiness in God’s strength.

Our Daily Journey ©2018 ODB Ministries, 3000, Kraft Ave., SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49555-0001, USA. Used by permission. For this and other materials contact ODB Ministries at 322 P. Guevarra, San Juan City (Phils.); Tel.: 722-2010.