Have you ever been forced into a wilderness of discomfort? An out-of-your-control season where the comforts of life are beyond reach? If so, do you ever want to binge your way through your time in the wilderness, reaching for whatever comfort you can find?

I’m so glad you’re joining me for this conversation about the True Story of the Wilderness. In season one we’re looking at the true stories of Jesus, and in this episode we’re looking at the astonishing story from Matthew 4:1-11, where Jesus is in the wilderness and without food for forty days, and yet he still has the power to overcome temptation. And at the end of this episode, I’m going to invite you to live like this story is true—both that Jesus had the power to overcome temptation in the wilderness and—through the power of the Holy Spirit, so do you.

Bible Passage: Matthew 4:1-11

FreebieSeason 1: “The True Stories of Jesus”  Bible Readings & Discussion Guide

Mentioned Resources: 

Music: Cade Popkin Music 

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Barb Roose

In this episode, I’m joined by Barb Roose, a speaker and author who is passionate about teaching women to live beautifully strong and courageous so that they experience God’s great adventure of faith and purpose for their lives.

Barb is a Bible teacher who loves following God more than anything else. Rather than teaching audiences to follow God to get what they want, Barb inspires audiences to discover that God is all that they truly need!

Barb is the author of five Bible studies including Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus and Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle and multiple books. Since the topic of Surrendered overlaps with today’s episode, I’m giving away a free copy to one lucky person who subscribes to my “Live Like It’s True” emails (which come once a season).

Barb lives in NW Ohio and is proud mother of three adult daughters. Whenever possible, Barb prefers to eat dessert first.

I hope you’ll be encouraged as Barb and I talk through this True Story of the Wilderness and then I hope you’ll take my challenge at the end: to live like the story is true.

Find Barb on:

For a chance to win Barb’s Bible study, Surrendered, sign up for my “Live Like It’s True” emails.

Share the Story

Part of our goal, here on the podcast, is to become better story tellers—and that involves telling the whole story.

See, we have a tendency to slice off the ends of the story. We focus only on the middle section, which we’re part of—the part where sin separates us from God and leads to death, but by giving his Son to die in our place, God made a way that we might be delivered from darkness to the kingdom of light (Col. 1:13). (For more on this part of the story, go here.) 

Now that is a very good part of the story. But it’s not the only part. When we only focus on Jesus dying for our sins and restoring us to relationship with God, it’s like we’ve torn out the beginning of the story and the end of the story. So let’s fill on those parts of the story, which our lives are part of.

Creation: a Mirror, not a Backdrop

Creation isn’t just a backdrop for the main story. In his book, The Mission of God’s PeopleChristopher Wright says, “”Some Chritians seem to have Bibles that begin at Genesis 3 and end at Revalation   20. They know all about sin from the story of the fall, and they know that God has solved the sin problem through Christ, and that they will be safe on the great day of judgment. The story of creation for them is no more than a backdrop for the story of salvation, and the Bible’s grand climax speaks to them only of going to heaven when they die. (p. 48).

Imagine your Bible with the very beginning and the very end parts torn out. Would that matter to you?

Friend, the beginning and the end are the best parts of the story! They are untainted with sin! They are the perfect and pure and delightful parts! Rather than omitting these parts, let’s put them back in and see the difference they make.

The Best Parts of the Story

The Bible begins with God creating the world, and placing two people inside it, then giving them dominion. Our original parents had purpose and joy. They were unrestrained and free to discover and pursue satisfaction.

This is the beginning of your story. It’s end—if you have been transferred from darkness to light (Col 1:13)—will mirror it.

Psalm 16:11 says,

“You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;

    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

That’s what you have to look forward to! Surrendering to God is what re-attaches your story to His. It’s what makes these best parts of the story your best parts, too.

The View from the Wilderness

When we’re in the wilderness, we long for the comforts of home. But what is our ultimate home?

There’s nothing wrong with longing for your family to be reunited, or the cancer treatments to be over. But be ware of slicing off the ends of the story. Our ultimate “happy ending” is being kept for us in the Kingdom. And aren’t you so glad? Nothing here in the world is ultimately safe from the diminishing decay of sin, here in this world. So don’t make the mistake of thinking this is the end of the story. It’s not.

Here’s what I wrote in Control Girl:
“Knowing that the last page of my story is settled gives me peace, security, and hope for the journey. If I start with the secure ending then flip backward, it’s easier to give God control of the things that concern me today. 
Even if my happiness seems to be unraveling, I am not undone, because I know that nothing has slipped from God’s hands. In all things, I can say with confidence, “Not my will, but yours, be done.”

For more on this, check out “Will Surrender Really make me Happy?”  Also, you can sign up for the Q&A Series that this post is part of.

LIVE the Story

How can we live like this story is true? Here are several ways:

  • Jesus wasn’t led into the wilderness because he was being punished or had done something wrong, so I shouldn’t assume that my wilderness is a punishment either. How can
  • Here are the “Five Promises” Barb encouraged us to focus on. Which ones need to go on sticky notes on your mirror?
    • Promise #1: I can’t mess up God’s love for me. Jeremiah 31:3
    • Promise #2: God can carry my pain and problems better than I can. 1 Peter 5:7
    • Promise #3: God has promised to give me strength and peace. Psalm 29:11
    • Promise #4: God will never fail me. Joshua 1:5
    • Promise #5: God isn’t out to get me. He’s out to give me the best. Jeremiah 29:11
  • “If we’re going to live by God’s Word, then that means we have to have God’s Words to live by.” How can I soak into God’s Word today? 
  • Barb mentioned a couple of her surrender principals:
    • I am not in control of others or outcomes.
    • Surrender is my only path to God’s peace, presence, and provision.
      How would it change my objectives if I were living like these two principles are true?
  • Barb said, “We don’t give up, we don’t give in, we give over into the hands of God.”
    • How is my wilderness tempting me to give up or give in? 
    • How can I give this over to God instead?
  • Jesus was led into the wilderness so that we could see the power of God that would help us overcome the human desires that that can get out of control. We face all sorts of temptations but Jesus wants to show us the power in the Spirit. He was led by the Spirit, the one who leads us, too. Which out-of-control desires do I need the Spirit’s power to overcome? ?
  • The wilderness is a place without comfort. It’s without the familiar things that Jesus would ordinarily be around.  But even though Jesus was without comfort, he was not without the comforter. What would change in my life if I believed this were true for me, as well? 
If we're going to live by God's Word, then that means we have to have God's Words to live by. - Barb Roose Click To Tweet

Can You Help?

Thanks so much for listening! Did you enjoy this episode? What ideas ideas do you have for future episodes or future guests? I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me here.

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Season One Bible Readings

Throughout season one, we’re discussing the True Stories of Jesus. At the end of each episode, I’m inviting you to open your Bible and read the story for yourself.

Sign up HERE for your Season One Bible Reading & Discussion Guide. This Freebie includes all of the True Stories of Jesus that we’ll be talking through during season one, plus some ways for you to think through what each story reveals about Jesus and how to live like the story is true! Designed for you to use


Included are:

  • The True Story of the Five Thousand
  • The True Story on Fear
  • The True Story of the Lonely Places
  • The True Story in the Wilderness

As a bonus, you’ll also get a set of my “True Story” two-page studies, including:

  • The True Story of Jonah
  • The True Story of Rahab
  • The True Story on Mt. Caramel
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