1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. – Luke 4:1-2
Wow! What must it have been like to hang out with the devil forty days? I cringe at the thought of spending one minute in the presence of such a deceptive and discouraging figure. Jesus must have had some incredible strength to endure forty days! And why forty days?
The number 40 is significant in scripture, signifying times of testing, trials, or even probationary periods: Moses’ forty days on the mountain receiving the Law; his forty years wandering in the wilderness (before the next generation could enter and possess the promised land); King David and King Solomon ruling forty years each during times of trouble. As we enter into this season of Lent, we are of course reminded of Jesus’ time in the wilderness for forty days with the devil. We are called to walk that same road for forty days, thinking about our own lives and the temptations we face.
And just as Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, we are also filled with that same Spirit to guide us, encourage us, and provide the strength we need to be in this wilderness time. I find comfort in that. The fact that the same Spirit that strengthened Jesus strengthens us through our lives is very encouraging. No matter what happens in this world, no matter what the devil throws at us, we can make it through because God is with us.
So as you walk these forty days of Lent, think about the things that would tempt you or drive you to discouragement, then think about the God who is with you to offer the power of the Holy Spirit, and be encouraged. Forty days with the devil is doable if you know you are not alone.