“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.” (Luke 4, ESV)
In the Old Testament, most instances of being filled with the Spirit involve outward ministry and potent action. But Jesus is full of the Spirit, and goes to the desert to be tested and tempted.
The filling of the Holy Spirit does not just prepare us to preach and do miracles. In his Passion week, Jesus told his disciples many roles that the Holy Spirit would fulfill: “He shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you.” “”He shall glorify me.” “He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.”
The Holy Spirit also helps us to minister to the Father. He is “the Spirit of sonship, whereby we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Rom. 8:15) Any believer that is full of the Holy Spirit has a full-time ministry, because the Holy Spirit is in them to help them minister to the Father.
There are two Greek words translated ‘worship’ in the New Testament. One means to bow, to personally prostrate yourself in homage. The other means to serve, in a liturgical sense, fulfilling a role in a temple or church worship ceremony. Revelation 22:3 uses this word when it says “his servants shall serve him, and they shall see his face.”
John was exiled to Patmos, a Greek island measuring only a few miles from end to end. The island is volcanic and mostly lifeless. But John wrote, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” (Rev. 1:10, ESV) Whether or not anyone else was with him, John could walk in the Holy Spirit and worship the Father. Even in exile, he had a full-time ministry as far as God was concerned.
Jesus went to the desert, full of the Holy Spirit. That means that the Holy Spirit is with me and in me even when I am ministering to no one except the Father. Exile and desertion can never take that away.
Fasting is a ministry to the Lord—not just a spiritual warfare tactic. Our fasting is misguided if we only think about what we are going to get out of it, and not about ministering to the Father.
Now we know that when we walk alone, he is not merely preparing us for something more important that we will do. If we are ministering to the Father, we are already fulfilling our most important calling. Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer is not preparation for greater work. Prayer is the greater work.”
This desert, this place of solitude, is our greatest work. Our greatest calling is simply to know him in prayer and praise.
Father, thank you that I can know you and walk in your Holy Spirit, even in solitude, even in conflict. Teach me that my first and greatest ministry is simply to know you.