What is the purpose of Testing in the Wilderness?

Today, we are discussing the purpose for testing in the wilderness.  It’s really important to realize that God will never tempt us with evil, but He will test us. In this post, we will examine the life of Jesus.  

Jesus was led “of the spirit” (Luke 4:1) into the wilderness to be tested. Now let’s consider this.  If Jesus – the Son of God – had to go through a period of testing, don’t you think we will too? If we carefully examine the Scriptures, we will find that all men of God are required to go through a time of testing and hardship where they are forced to fully rely on God, remain faithful to the Word of God and walk by FAITH. 

Our Text

2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

Deuteronomy 8:2 KJV

“The Wilderness” represents Times of Hardship

We’ve covered this pretty thoroughly in other blog posts so I will just briefly say this.  The Bible uses the wilderness experience throughout its stories to symbolize times of hardship and testing.

Testing Starts by Following the Spirit of God

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

Luke 4:1 KJV

There are two types of hardship and you need to make sure you don’t apply the wrong rules to the wrong type of hardship in your life.  Last post we talked about the reasons we are facing hardship.

What is the purpose of Testing in the Wilderness?

The type of hardship we are discussing today is the same as Jesus in Luke 4.  

Jesus has just been baptized in the Holy Spirit and is following what God tells Him to do by entering into the wilderness. 

Sometimes you’ve done everything right but life is still getting difficult. 

Examine your Heart in Times of Hardship

This is the type of hardship we are talking about. In these moments it’s really important to inspect our hearts to ensure we are in faith and have done all we can do. 

Satan Attacked Jesus Immediately

2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

Luke 4:2 KJV

Just when Jesus was following the perfect will of God, satan came immediately to tempt Jesus.  

The truth is sometimes when you are doing exactly what God wants you to do it can feel like it gets harder not easier. These aren’t the times to give up but to press in!

The Results of Testing in the Wilderness

There are two primary purposes that we see from our primary text in Deuteronomy: humble you and prove you.

To Humble You

Many people will take this way too far.  They say see the Lord wants you poor!  He wants to bring hard times on you to teach you something and pull you down. 

God isn’t interested in not providing for you.  In fact, He explicitly said…

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 KJV


The confusion comes because we don’t understand the definition of humility.  Humility is simply only considering the thoughts and opinions of the Lord. Conversely pride is considering what others think about us. 

I had a really hard time with this concept growing up because I was STEEPED in pride.  I cared what everyone thought of me, but thank God I learned that God is the only one who matters. 

What is Pride?

Humility in the life of Jesus…

Jesus went into the wilderness by the direction of the Spirit of God. His only consideration could be in that moment what the Father God desires. 

Every temptation that came as a direct attack to Jesus’ faithfulness to God and belief in what God said was truth. 

To Prove You

The tests in the wilderness will come with an opportunity to return back to a place of sin. You will have the opportunity to fall prey to sin. 

5 Deadly Sins of the Wilderness

It’s really important to remember that we must remain faithful to God’s Word. 

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Hebrews 10:23, 36 KJV

The promises that the Lord speaks to us are for us. Everything that He says can and will come to pass in our life when we apply the Word of God for ourselves. 

But there is a time period in between believing and receiving the manifestation of the promise. This is the moment where we have to stay faithful. 

The Ultimate Result of Humility and Proving You is Operating in the Power of the Spirit.

13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

Luke 4:13-14 KJV

The truth is that God has your best interest at heart.  Sometimes you have to grow up before you can be used by God in a greater way.  

Have you ever seen a child who gets really famous really fast in the world?  These childhood stars often self-destruct because they don’t have enough maturity to handle the situations they are placed in.

God wants to do the same thing for you.  He wants to abound in blessings to you in a way that won’t cause you harm which means making sure that you are mature enough to handle the blessings that He gives you without allowing them to distract you from your true purposes.

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