Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. (Luke 4: 1– 2)
Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and yet was tempted. The strongest force of temptation often comes upon a person when he is closest to God. Someone once said, “The Devil aims high.” In fact, he caused one disciple to say he did not even know Christ.
Why is it that very few people have had as great a conflict with the Devil as Martin Luther had? It is because Martin Luther was shaking the very kingdom of hell itself. And remember the tremendous struggles John Bunyan had!
When a person has the fullness of the Spirit of God, he will experience great conflicts with the Tempter. God allows temptation because it does for us what storms do for oak trees, rooting us deeper, and it does for us what heat does for paint on porcelain, giving us long-lasting endurance.
You will never fully realize the level of strength of your grasp on Christ, or His grasp on you, until the Devil uses all his force to attract you to himself. It is then you will feel the tug of Christ’s right hand.
Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins but are sometimes the trials resulting from God’s extraordinary gifts. God uses many sharp-cutting instruments, and polishes His jewels with files that are rough. And those saints He especially loves, and desires to make shine the most brilliantly, will often feel His tools upon them.
I willingly bear witness to the fact that I owe more to my Lord’s fire, hammer, and file than to anything else in His workshop. Sometimes I wonder if I have ever learned anything except at the end of God’s rod. When my classroom is darkest, I see best.
~Charles H. Spurgeon
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 151-152). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.