Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Not Into the Desert!"

Sammy's GMC truck could go faster over those bumpy, pot-holed dirt roads faster than Dad's Olds that I was driving. I had a much bigger motor, but he had ground clearance. For the last 30 minutes I had chased & tailgated him all over the roads around home. I got a break when he took a lumpy three-sides-of-a-box dirt road around the field behind Climatic of Clinton (a local industry). He didn't know I had hunted rabbits there about a month earlier. I thought I had finally found a way to win this game. So I turned the Olds into the open field to cut across it and head Sammy off. The friends in my car saw we were about to take him by surprise. And then that one HUGE clump off grass went under the car lifting the rear wheels off the ground. The high-centered vehicle stopped. Then we discovered the clump was surrounded with 6 inch deep water in a 30-foot circle.  It was dark. It was late. And Dad's car is stuck in the middle of a water-logged field. That is when Sammy did something I respected. He, and his truck load of friends, came to attempt the impossible rescue. 

Why this anecdote of a stupid teen-age boy? Because most of us will follow and repeat what we see in the lives of people we respect.

Respect is not just passed out like candy from a bank teller. Generally, it is earned. I already respected Sammy because he was in the high school band and was more successful than me. And then he returned to help me when it was not required. He earned more respect. Respect appears to be earned through living through similar life experiences successfully.

Jesus has faced life like we know it, including temptations. He was in that uninhabited place for almost a month and a half, Matthew says. He missed all his meals. And he was in danger of being eaten or injured from the wild beasts. After 40 days he was hungry, exhausted, and lonely. The ease of making stones into bread must have looked as good to him as the 'forbidden fruit' was to Eve. The false expectation of power over the people, instead of loneliness, must have been appealing. And because of his being tempted he can understand our temptations. So, we can respect & follow Him. He has had similar life experiences. 

Plus, we regard him as successful. He gas done what we cannot do -- overcome temptation. He never sinned. His suffering sin’s penalty was because of our temptation failures, not his.

The New King James Version says in Mark 1:12 that the Spirit DROVE him into the wilderness. What does that mean?  The Greek word used here can be either 1) to cast out, with the notions of violence, or 2) to command or cause to depart in haste including a) drawn out with force, to tear out, and a force overcoming an opposite force but without violence. Either way you chose, Jesus didn't volunteer to go. I personally don't see Jesus being violently thrown into the wilderness. So I must conclude that his 'force' was an unwillingness which was opposed by the Spirit (another force). Since Jesus chose to follow God's will, I see him consenting to follow the will of the Spirit (force).
My struggle and maybe yours too, is to not 'volunteer' to be tempted. In my case I put myself in situations where temptations, and the subsequent sin, can occur. By not being on my toes I have 'volunteered' de facto. 

I need to be a better disciple in how I follow and repeat the patterns of my respected Lord. How about you?

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