Hey, there! I’m super excited to be writing this post, and I’m going to try something new! I’ve been studying the bible with Women Living Well for over a year now, and it’s been such a blessing to me. Why not pay it forward? I’m planning on creating 2 blog posts per book of the bible that we work through in order to share what I’m learning…and hopefully spread some encouragement! Let’s check out some takeaways from Luke 1-12!
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God can use a mess
Sometimes, it’s really easy for me to get in this funk of thinking that I’m too messed up to be used by God. I’ll worry myself into circles thinking about all the things I’m lacking or all the mistakes I’ve made. The bible is FULL of examples of how God can use those messes in our life for His glory, but I especially love Mary’s story in Luke 1. Mary was a young, unmarried, poor, female…in her day, all those things seemed to make you pretty unqualified to do much of anything special. God doesn’t see it that way. He trusted Mary for one of the greatest acts of obedience in the bible. He trusted her to carry His Son in her womb, to raise Him, and to love Him. Mary seemed to be a mess, but God saw something in her that no one else did. You may be feeling pretty unqualified right now. Remember that God doesn’t necessarily call the qualified. He calls the willing and obedient.
Luke 1:38 – And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Jesus was tempted just as we are tempted
Luke chapter 4 starts out with Jesus being tempted for 40 days by the devil in the wilderness. Satan tempted him by saying that he would give Jesus authority over all the kingdoms of the world if He would just worship him. He also tested Jesus by trying to get Him to turn a stone into bread or to throw Himself off a temple to prove that He was the Son of God. For the 40 days that Jesus was in the wilderness, He hadn’t eaten anything and had spent the time alone. Satan came to Him at a very vulnerable time, and it would have been very easy for Him to just give in to the temptation of Satan’s demands.
He didn’t give in.
With each new thing thrown at Him by the devil, Jesus countered with the Word of God. Luke 4:4 says, “And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written'”… Instead of giving in to the temptation of the devil, Jesus tapped into the kind of strength that can only come from God’s Word. He countered the devil’s lies with the truth given by our Heavenly Father. Jesus set the perfect example for how to handle temptation when it comes – because it WILL come. When we don’t have the strength to battle temptation on our own, we can lean on God and His Word to bring us through the situation.
God is in control of everything…even our hardships
The last topic takes us perfectly into this one. In the exact same scene of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness, we can read something pretty extraordinary.
Luke 4:1-2 “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.”
Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit. Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for 40 days without eating by the Holy Spirit. God is in control.
It can be hard to come to terms with the fact that God is in control of even the “crappy” parts of life. When a friend gets sick, when a tragedy strikes our nation, or when we don’t get the job our family sorely needs, it can be really easy to lose heart or even blame God. And in a way, God is to blame. But our gracious Father doesn’t let these things happen because he’s harsh or cruel. Hardships happen in our life and in the lives of others for our ultimate good. At times, we aren’t big enough to understand the reasoning why, but God sees the big picture perfectly. He has created a plan for our life that works out for the good of His Kingdom and for the good of His children. I’m sure that the time being tempted in the desert was diffuclt for Jesus, but now we have a picture of a strong Jesus Christ resisting temptation by using the Word of God as His strength. We can now rest a little easier knowing that even Jesus was tempted, and He knows what we are going through completely. God is always working for our good, even when it’s hard to see.
When much is given, much is required
“‘Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.'” – Luke 12:48
Sometimes, it can seem like we have been given a raw deal or a bad hand in life. While it may be true that our circumstances are less than what we might have liked them to be, we are still blessed with so much in this age. The bible is right at our fingertips in so many different forms, versions, and translations. Social media makes connecting with people easier than ever. And community and fellowship with others is just a drive away.
We have been given so much, therefore, much will be required of us. It is the job of each of us to use the talents, gifts, resources, understanding, and time that we have been given for the glory of God’s kingdom. Each of us has been given just enough to be effective in the area that God has called us to be. We don’t have to be like everyone else, but with all that is available to us, it’s up to us to make sure that we are living out God’s purpose for our life!
Below are some of my favorite resources for studying the bible and just growing in faith in general!
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Let’s discuss! Are you reading along in the book of Luke? What is your biggest takeaway so far?