It will be helpful at this point to take a closer look at Biblical accounts

of experiences God's people, even His own Son, had in the desert. Time in

the desert seems to be very important. Both Jesus and Paul began their

public ministry by going out to the desert. The journey through the desert

for the Israelites was not only a necessary geographical area to be

crossed, it also was a time of testing and preparation (see Hebrews 3).

The Israelites were free from their bondage and slavery. They were out of

Egypt, but they were not in the Promised Land. It was during this time in

the desert that God tested and prepared them to enter the Promised Land.

Hebrews 3 says that the Israelites saw what God did for them in the desert,

yet they hardened their hearts and rebelled. Of all who left Egypt, only

Joshua and Caleb entered the Promised Land.

Jesus spent forty days in the desert at the beginning of his public

ministry. This was a time of testing and preparation for him. The New

Bible Commentary tells us "Before He even entered upon a ministry whose

purpose was to challenge and ultimately to break the power of Satan in

others, that enemy had to be met and defeated on the battleground of his

own life." Remember that Jesus is not only fully God, but also fully

human. He had the same body that we have. Jesus had to develop

physically, emotionally, and spiritually just as each one of us do. In

fact, Luke tells us that "Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour

with God and men." (Luke 2:52 NIV). Jesus had to grow in awareness of who

He was: The Son of God, and of what His mission was. His time in the

desert was the last step of testing and preparation before fulfilling His


We too, have a time in the desert -- a journey of testing and preparation

before entering the Promised Land. One can not, may not, leap out of

bondage to a dominating sin -- such as homosexuality (or any other sin) and

enter into the Promised Land. This time in the desert is an important time

of preparation to be able to live in the Promised Land.

Life in the Promised Land is very different from life in the desert. As

the Israelites entered the Promised Land they needed to take possession of

the land. Slowly they secured one piece of land after the next until they

possessed it all. After all the land was theirs, they returned to their

new homes and settled in. Is not this the same in our Christian walk? We

come to know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, then we enter basic

training (a time of testing and preparation in the desert), then we go to

war -- for others and against Satan. Christians have come under the

delusion that once they give their life to Christ, He will make everything

nice and fine. They continue to pursue their "new way of life," which in

reality is just the old way with a little Christian morality thrown in.

The Gospel of Mark tells us that immediately after Jesus' baptism, "the

Spirit sent Him out into the desert, and He was in the desert forty days,

being tempted by Satan. He was with the wind animals and angels attended

Him." (Mark 1:12,13).

Lets us look at Jesus' experience in the desert. First, we note that Jesus

was alone. There were no other human beings with him. How often do we

feel the same way while we are going through severe temptation? Even if

there are people around, it seems that they can not help us in our

struggles. Jesus' aloneness and the strength of the temptations is

intensified when Mark tells us that "He was with the wild animals." When I

go for a day hike in the mountains, I often fear meeting up with a bear,

snake, or mountain lion. And I stick to the main trails! Can you imagine

being out in the desert with the wild animals for forty days? Jesus was

exposed to real danger. He could become lonely, have given up, or He could

have been devoured by the wild animals.

Second, we note that Jesus was "being tempted by Satan." Satan was not

waiting at the edge of the desert for Jesus' return before he began his

temptations (see Matthew 4 and Luke 4). Satan buffeted Jesus continually

for forty days. We like to believe that we can handle an occasional

temptation -- but it is the continual onslaught of temptation that leads to

despair -- that leads to the cry "Will it ever end?" Winter storms

buffeted the Midwestern part of the United States this winter. One storm

came on the heels of the last. The people could not get rid of the first

pile of snow before they had to face the next. This is only an example of

how a continual onslaught can get people down. Maybe our own experience

with homosexual temptation is not so different or unusual. Jesus had to

face the same thing.

Third, we note that Jesus was fasting -- not for a day or two, but for

forty. Fasting will affect a person physically as well as spiritually.

Beside enduring hunger pains, a person on an extended fast will tend to

become dizzy when he moves quickly. There is a certain amount of weight

loss and a decrease in physical strength. The spiritual benefits outweigh

those side affects, but let us not forget that Jesus was in the hot, dry

desert, with the wild animals, alone. The intensity of Jesus' struggle was

great. It was as intense as our own struggles against homosexuality.

Jesus was identifying and becoming one with us.

The time in the desert may well have been the second most important event

in Jesus' life. (The most important being His death and resurrection.) It

is in the desert that we see Jesus as a very human man going through very

human temptations. Jesus was identifying and becoming one with us. Jesus

had to defeat His personal devil just as we do. As the writer of Hebrews

says, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with

our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as

we are -- yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15 NIV). Jesus not only knows

about our temptation to sin, He has experienced it! Jesus not only knows

about our battle against Satan, He has experienced that battle!

In the desert, the Israelites were prepared to enter the Promised Land.

They needed that experience to be trained and prepared to drive out the

enemy living in Canaan. So too Jesus had to be trained and prepared. He

had to know our battle. Then Jesus could go out, meet the enemy, and

defeat him -- which He did through His death and resurrection.

In the desert we will be trained and prepared. We will meet the enemy, we

will defeat that enemy. Then, we will enter the Promised Land and drive

him out. We will lead others into that Promised Land. When all are in,

and the enemy is totally wiped out, then we will have our eternal rest. Do

not be dismayed when Satan buffets you with homosexual temptation. You are

being prepared for greater work. And remember Jesus Christ has already

walked through the desert -- and He is with you.

-- Douglas A Houck, M.S.


For further information about homosexuality or about other areas of sexual

brokenness, please contact:


G.P.O. Box 1115


Phone (08) 371 0446


This article is reprinted by permission from

Metanoia Ministries

P O Box 33039

Seattle WA 98133-0039



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