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Becoming Disciples: Wilderness Wanderings

Listen to last week’s sermon here

“If you say I believed in God, I trusted God and He didn’t come through, you only trusted God to meet your agenda.”  ~Tim Keller

In his characteristic eloquence, Tim Keller summarizes for us the journey toward discipleship. To become a disciple, you need to forsake your own agenda and follow God’s. The Gospel of Mark, crafted in the context of severe opposition, takes us on a journey toward discipleship that is filled with surprising twists and turns. In chapter 1:1-13,  the three wilderness scenes (John the baptist, Jesus’ baptism, and Jesus’ temptation) build upon each other and set contrasting images of the wilderness. On the one hand, in the wilderness, the Heavens are “torn open” and the “Spirit” descended on Jesus.  Yet, it is the same Spirit who “immediately drove him out into the wilderness.” There “he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan and he was with the wild animals and the angels were ministering to him” (1:13).  In this severe test, angels came to minister to Jesus.

In your own wilderness (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-13), maybe you are doubting that God has placed you where you are (why did I get to this place in my life? If God was guiding me, I wouldn’t be here!).  Maybe you are questioning that God loves you (if He did I wouldn’t be in this situation!).  Maybe you are questioning His provision or even the way He has provided.

To all these questions, God’s promise remains the same from the most famous of ‘wilderness Psalms:’  “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall lack nothing!” (Psalm 23:1). Paul puts it this way, God “is faithful” and “He will provide a way out” (1 Corinthians 10:13).    This is His promise and comfort in our wilderness journey to becoming disciples.  It may not be the journey we expected or even prayed for, but God reassures us that He is with us, in the midst of the tests and the temptations.

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