Links Daily Devotional

The Nourishing Word

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. (Luke 4:1, NIV)

“He has played a lot of golf, but he hasn’t understood his golf swing and that’s what we are working on.” These are words I recently heard from a teaching pro to describe a large percentage of amateur golfers. I do believe most golfers want to improve, but often they don’t desire to take lessons or practice. They keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

It’s easy to have this same attitude in our spiritual lives as well. We want more faith, more blessings, better relationships, or better understanding of the Word of God. Yet, we tend to want these different results without putting in much effort. Believing in God is the start of a new relationship, but the level at which we choose to meditate and chew on God’s Word will have a direct impact on our spiritual growth throughout our lives.

As we invest time meditating on God’s Word, we also need to ask the Holy Spirit for help in applying it to our lives. At times, I find myself going through the motions of reading my Bible; I glance off the words and gain nothing. Slowly, however, through my trips to the Holy Land, I am learning to take my time and ask two questions of the text as I read: Why is that there? Why do I need to know it?

A faith lesson from today’s passage, taught by Pastor George DeJong on location in Jordan, is an example of learning how to ask questions. The apostles Luke, Matthew, and Mark all wrote about how the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness immediately after being baptized by John. On the surface it seems like all three references mean the same thing (Luke 4:1, Matthew 4:1, and Mark 1:12). However, in the original language each author used a different Greek word for “led.”

Luke used the Greek word ago. This means “to lead or take one with.” I feel the tender hand of God’s presence leading Jesus into the wilderness with the assurance that he wasn’t alone.

Anago is the word Matthew chose. This Greek word is translated as “to launch.” I picture the Holy Spirit pointing Jesus toward the wilderness and saying, “I’ve set the path before you, now hurry along.” Jesus may have even needed a little push, for the Judean wilderness isn’t the most inviting environment.

Mark used the more forceful ekballo, which means “to cast out.” It’s the same word used for what Jesus did to the demons. Ekballo shouts, “I know you don’t want to, but GO!” I wonder if Mark saw tension in Jesus’ face as he left the Jordan River?

I am in awe of how God weaves his love and care into each one of his words with intention and purpose. He invites us into his story and gives us confidence that Jesus does understand what we experience in our lives. There are places in my story where God has gently said, “Come with me, Tracy.” At other times he has opened the door of opportunity but had to push me through it. And…there are scenes where I have received his strong hand telling me to stop resisting and go.

To understand our golf swings, it makes complete sense to get help from a respected instructor. If we want to experience a growing spiritual life, then we need to meditate on the texts of Scripture. Dan Allender has written, “To meditate is to chew something over in your mind until it runs wet and sweet into your heart.” We do this by asking questions and actively listening. It is the food that will sustain our souls.

Tracy Hanson
August 30, 2012
Copyright 2012 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at