Today's encouragement comes from Matthew 4:1, where we read these words:
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."
People often like to think of the Holy Spirit as the one Person of the Holy Trin-ity that *always* leads them into pleasurable ways and pastures. Whereas they might envision having to "suffer with Jesus"; and/or undergoing the dis-cipline of the Heavenly Father—it is sometimes assumed that everything as-sociated with the Holy Spirit is "positive."
But here the Spirit intentionally *leads* the Son of God into the "wilderness," to "be tempted by the devil." Why? So that, in overcoming these demon-prof-fered "shortcuts" to glory, the Messiah would rather go to the cross, and rise from the dead for His church. When the Spirit leads us into hard roads, let us recognize that it is for good reason: that we will be more Christlike in the end.
[Puritan quote of the day: "If once you come to receive the mercy of God in and through Christ Jesus, then that mercy will be the greatest opposer of your lusts and sin as anything can be in the world.” —Jeremiah Burroughs, a book of his sermons, entitled, "Gospel Remission"]