PREPARED FOR ARMED CONFLICT
When Marine Corps recruits go through basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, they endure obstacles and challenges one after another. The drill instructors move recruits through a crawl/walk/run approach, preparing them for the rigors of deployment and combat. They embody the Navy SEAL saying, “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.” Recruits experience firsthand the effectiveness of their gear, such as when they remove gas masks in a chamber filled with tear gas. Such training and testing infuse a sense of confidence in the recruits’ future success as United States Marines.
PREPARED FOR SPIRITUAL CONFLICT
Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness was the first great challenge of His ministry. It was an intense test that probed the depths of His character and the singlemindedness of His obedience to His Father. But much greater tests lay in His future. Through this challenge, Jesus perhaps gained confidence in His own strength against temptation. The tests that come our way today, in “training,” are preparing us so we don’t “bleed” and suffer when the greater challenges come.
- What difficult test have you endured that prepared you to succeed when another test came later?
- In what ways, if any, have you sensed your confidence in God growing when He carries you through some large test of your faith?
- How did each of Satan’s temptations test Jesus, and how was Jesus tested in each of these same categories at a later time?