WHILE browsing through psychologytoday.com an article titled “Hearing Voices? You’re Not the Only One” caught my attention. The article, in part, stated: “Auditory hallucinations, including hearing voices, are one of the hallmarks of schizophrenia, as up to 80 percent of people diagnosed with schizophrenia report hearing voices…. It’s little wonder, then, that anyone who hears a voice in their mind worries that they might be going crazy. Such experiences are, however, surprisingly common outside of clinical cases. A recent review published in Nature Reviews Psychology summarizes the evidence that shows how common it is and the different ways that people experience voices.”
In Luke 4:1-4 we are told of the temptation Jesus faced while in the wilderness. The ESV says: “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. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” In order for us to begin to appreciate what Luke is explaining we should consider the words of Hebrews 4:15: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Although Jesus was God in the flesh He did not take any shortcuts to resist Satan in order to gain an advantage unavailable to you and I. Now, let’s give thought to the following three points:
Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Ghost
The Holy Spirit, according to Luke, led Jesus into the wilderness. Remember that it was the Spirit of God that led the Israelites through a wilderness in their journey to the promise land. Exodus 13:17,18 states: “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.” Satan especially tries to exploit our vulnerabilities when we’re going through desolate seasons but God is with us. Rather than praying for our time in a wilderness to end we should pray for the Divine work within us to be performed while we are there.
Jesus heard the voice of Satan
Satan spoke to Jesus in the same manner he speaks to us: through the weaknesses of the carnal nature. Whether it was through an audible voice or not temptation was presented to the mind of Jesus clear enough for Him to understand what Satan was suggesting. He not only heard but felt the magnetic pull of the flesh to a greater degree than any man or woman could ever experience. He felt the pangs of hunger, the pull of the ego, mental exhaustion, physical weakness and emotional stress. One of the reasons why this encounter was necessary was because He needed to walk in the shoes of fallen humanity in order to identify with us. He also needed to demonstrate confidence in the same Word that He calls us to trust in.
Jesus trusted the Words of God
Our Savior was not silent when harassed by the voice of the enemy. He answered the invitations of Satan with “It is written!” His mind was fortified with the words of scripture and He confirmed His allegiance to remaining true to the principles of God even in the face of death. After not eating for 40 days, He demonstrated that He would rather starve than abort His mission of redeeming humanity through remaining loyal to God’s will. Though He lived the humble life of a carpenter’s son, He made it clear that He would rather be poor than claim the riches of the world for a season by pleasing Himself. In response to the temptation to throw Himself from a cliff to show that the angels would rescue Him He made it clear that He had nothing to prove except that God is not to be tempted. The words of the psalmist were His reality: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11. If we will be restored back into God’s image we too must learn to recognize God’s voice and wholeheartedly trust in His word.