Filling up my cars with gas is a necessary evil that I don’t look forward to. I especially don’t like it when it’s cold outside and the wind chill factor pushes the temperature below zero.
When it’s like that, I don’t want to leave the house and get into a cold truck . . . even more, I dread the fact that I will have to stand outside to pump the gas.
One such time, I got to the station, with the wind blowing and got out of my truck. I wasn’t disappointed; it was every bit as cold as I had expected. My wife was in our other car, just on the other side of the pump I was using. I was going to fill up both vehicles. What a pleasant bonus!
I took out my credit card, and of course it didn’t swipe the first time . . . great . . . I swiped it again and then was asked to enter my ID to get my my discount. Something went wrong and I was told I had to enter my ID again. . . Really? . . . I’m freezing . . . Oh and to accomplish the above, I had to keep my gloves off.
Finally, I managed to get everything in order so I could start fueling. I started with my truck. My wife, Lynn, was still waiting one car back, on the other side of the pump. The whole time I was pumping, I was mumbling out loud, “This is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong.”, as the wind blew, When I got done with my truck and Lynn was able to pull up to the pump, I swung the nozzle over to her side to pump. As I pumped, an ornery old man started tooting his horn at me. I was taking too long. Did he really think I was deliberately taking my time to enjoy the great outdoors more?
Well, I got done . . . Lynn took off, and to finish off, I bravely took off my glove to have my receipt printed. I pushed the button and waited and waited . . . nothing happened. I pushed the button again and still nothing. I left without a receipt.
I then drove across the street to the city building to get my original task done. Still shivering, I got out of my car and went to the door only to find it was locked. They were closed for their holiday break. With that shiver, I had been pushed to my limits. I rode off grumbling as I drove. For me, the end really wasn’t the end. After the struggle at the pump, thinking I had conquered my trial for the day, I had to face a closed city building.
As I read the temptation of Jesus in Luke 4, I saw something that I hadn’t considered in the past. It reminded me of the end of my fueling adventure . . .
When Christ faced the three temptations of the devil: The offer of food, the offer of a kingdom, the dare to leap from the temple . . . What I had not considered before was the environment in which this all took place.
“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him . . . “.
What happened during those 40 days? It appears to me that these three temptations mentioned took place after the forty days. That being the case, were those temptations the culmination of many other things that Jesus had to face? Kind of like my “after pumping gas” experience. When I had reached what I thought was the end . . . there was more that needed to be faced . . . And that was while I was in a weakened state.
The strength of God in my life is demonstrated when I am spent and would otherwise like to throw in the towel. My normal response to normal activities doesn’t show much . . . My reaction, when I walk up to the locked doors of my life, after being spent . . . It’s during those hard times that shine the reality of God’s working in my life.
Lord, help me to understand that through the Holy Spirit, I am able to meet the challenges laid before me with a grace that only He can provide . . . especially when I am already spent. Right now, I’m not so good at that. The world is watching. Help me to shine for You.
Luke 4:1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’”
9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. (biblegateway.com, ESV)
More than just a believer in God, I need to be a follower of Jesus!