I read Matthew 4 today as preparation for Lent. Here are my reflections:
Matthew 4 – The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry
The journey begins with an experience of God:
- Spiritual awakening [Matt 3:13-17 Baptism in the Holy Spirit]
- Repentance and Cleansing [Matt 4:1-10 Temptations in the desert]
- Inner healing [Matt 4:11 Angels came and ministered to him]
- Evangelising [Matt 4:17 Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”]
- Drawing others to God [Matt 4:18-25 Calling the first disciples, Ministering to a great multitude]
Where am I at? Still in the desert. A bulk of repentance and cleansing is done but I feel there is still more to be done.
- Matt 4:4 – One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God
What do I live by? My own strength?
Who do I listen to? What other people say?
In all situations, do I turn to, rely on and listen to God’s word above all else?
Thinking about these questions, I realise that days have been more fruitful, complete and aligned with God when I keep close to the Word. In all situations, just remember… There’s God’s Word for that 🙂 At first it is not easy to ‘whip’ out a bible verse to help you / your situation, but the more you read, remember and apply it – the easier you’ll remember next time.
This also helps to ‘rewire’ the habit of ‘do first, pray later’ into ‘pray first, listen, do according to God’s will’.
It takes effort and time but it is so SO worth it. Why not turn to God for advice in all you do? He is the kindest, most generous person you’ll ever know. Wisest too!
- Matt 4:7 – You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.
Truth be told, I struggled to reflect on this. The only initial thought was: Do not demand from God. [I will reflect more on this and update later]
- Matt 4:10 – The Lord, your God, shall you worship, and him alone shall you serve.
What should I focus less on / remove, to serve God instead of these addictions?
E.g.: Tv shows. I need to spend less time watching tv shows. Time runs real quick and I could spend that time with God instead. I’m working on it.
- Matt 4:17 – From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Notice the verse starts with: From that time on. So from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he continued proclaiming and fulfilled his mission.
Not when there was time,
Not when he felt like it,
From that time on.
Sidenote: Initially I planned to read 3 chapters each day so that I would have read all the gospels by Easter. But seriously – there’s too much ‘juice’ and I think it’s better to sink into Word, reflect more deeply and apply it in my life. Otherwise, I would just be skimming the surface – the aim is not to simply read the gospels – anyone can do that in 40 days but I want to immerse in the Word, and let the gospels mould me into a more Christ-like person through following Jesus on his journey.