I spent a few days last week with a group of pastors, and among those was Ted Winsley. Ted has been the chaplain for the Philadelphia Eagles for the past 10 years. He has journaled his time with the Eagles and has recently written a book about his view from the end zone. He said something that resonated with me as I would like to pass that along today concerning our role in the past 10 or 11 months of isolation. One thing to remember is that God has a reason for every season he places us in, and he will always take us through the tough places to get us firmly on the solid places. How we react in the wilderness determines the level of victory we will experience in the freedom. A few things that Ted had said concerning Israel and their wilderness journey was that God led them into the wilderness to test them and transition them. The question we must ask ourselves on a regular basis is, “Where am I in the wilderness experience?” 2020 could have been a type of wilderness in order to transition us to the next place. Maybe we have accumulated too much baggage for too long. God will take us through the wilderness so the slave in us will die. Maybe something in each of us, that has our minds enslaved, needs to die before true freedom will be found. If it doesn’t die, you will only give birth to the same old slavery mentality when you do enter the promise. Ted said that God will kill something in us that he didn’t give birth to if we will allow him the liberty to do so. It took Israel 40 years for the slavery in them to completely die. They came out of their wilderness ready to give birth to God’s vision for them instead of their own.
Jesus came out of his 40 days of fasting filled with the Holy Spirit. His trial and testing was behind him and the flesh in him had to become submissive to the God in him so the right seed could be planted for the universal church. The account of his “coming out party” is recorded in the gospels. Matthew records that Jesus went to work preaching repentance. Luke chapter 4 says that the power of the spirit was upon him. He went into the synagogue and confirmed that through the prophet Isaiah. He taught the word with the power of the Holy Spirit, and people marveled at him, and then, in verse 22, they asked the question, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” Jesus was changed by his experience in the wilderness - so much so that his own hometown people didn’t recognize him as God. In Matthew chapter 4, Jesus approached the Jordan River as a carpenter building tables out back in his father’s shop, but he exited that same chapter filled with the Holy Spirit, preaching the gospel, speaking in the synagogues, calling disciples, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, and removing the heaviness of slavery from the hearts and minds of everyone he encountered.
We said last week that it was time to run, and, the question is, are we going to do so? Jesus came out of his wilderness swinging. How are we going to come out of ours? Will it be with the same old slavery mentality because that’s what was supposed to die back in 2020.
Swing by for a visit this Sunday at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m., and let’s talk freedom. We are Christpoint Church on the square in Sparta. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.