“The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.” v.12
God has no interest in keeping you on a spiritual high. In fact, as we see illustrated in our text today, the Spirit of God will drive you out of it as soon as possible. Jesus had just been baptized, filled with the Spirit, and even heard his father speak audibly over him. What a rush! Can you imagine what a mountain top experience that must have been? But then, we see in the next verse; “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.” So much for the spiritual high.
Jesus was immediately driven into the desert to do battle with the devil, and “was with the wild animals.” where he had to be ministered to by the angels. There was no slow descent from the mountain of God’s presence into a life of ease and happiness. He was immediately driven into the battle of the ages. Why then, do we imagine God would do differently with us?
I fear this generation of Christians is in danger of becoming more like drug addicts than warriors. We are in a delusion that life in Christ is meant to be a series of “spiritual highs” rather than a battle against darkness. How many of us bounce from church to church in search of another “spiritual fix”. Too many of us measure our spirituality by how long we can maintain a “high” on Jesus. We are more concerned with our feelings than the condition of a lost world. Junkies are always looking for an escape. Warriors are looking instead for a fight. Which of these best describes where you are right now? Don’t misunderstand. Mountain top experiences are great times of refreshing. I love them. But we are followers of Christ, not followers of our feelings! If we follow him we must allow him to drive us from the mountain of power into the wilderness where that power is needed. In Matthew 17 we see this again. Jesus takes Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain. They see him suddenly enveloped in heavenly glory, standing next to Moses and Elijah. Peter is so overwhelmed at this moment that he wants to build a monument to commemorate the occasion. But Jesus immediately takes the men off the mountain where they are met with a demonized boy and his desperate father looking for help.
When God gives us a glimpse of himself, He isn’t looking for us to build monuments but to battle demons. He is preparing us to descend quickly into the place of need. Whenever you find yourself on a spiritual mountain top, be aware that at the bottom of the hill are the masses looking for hope. Will you go to them or will you keep trying to sneak back up the mountain to build a monument? Are you on a mountain? Then prepare for battle. Are you in the desert? Then stand in the power of God’s word and fight like Jesus did. We have to face the devils and the wild animals of this present darkness. The great news is that, like Jesus, we go in the power of the Spirit, the strength of God’s word, and the protection of holy angels standing with us in the fight. Jesus was not left alone in the desert, and neither are you.