LUKE 4:1

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness . . . 


We can look empty and remain hungry, while at the same time being as full as we’ve ever been.

Jesus goes into the wilderness, not with his belly full of food, but with his heart full of the Holy Spirit. He is prepared to go without food, because he is drawing from a source that satisfies more than his bodily cravings. Fasting can have that effect on us.

Fullness. You know that feeling you have when you have just had a good meal and you are completely satisfied with no need to further satiate your palate or your hunger? That is one form of fullness. Do you know that other feeling when you have just been with those you love and you exchanged the gifts of care, warmth, and support? That is another form of fullness.

Jesus is full of something when he leaves the Jordan of his baptism and heads toward the wilderness led by the Spirit. Food may set his endorphins in motion, but Jesus is resisting the satisfaction of food in order to make his spirit attentive to a different kind of food. He wants to be full of something else.

I believe he is full of love—the Father’s satisfying, satiating, spiritual-hunger-quenching love. That is what Jesus’s baptism was all about. That is why Jesus spends his entire ministry unmoved by the fickle opinions of the crowd. He has learned to feed from God’s presence and love rather than from affirmation and attention. That “learned indifference,” as Ignatius of Loyola called it, enabled him to be indifferent to anything other than the Father’s will.

In John 4:32 Jesus says to his inquisitive disciples, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” When they press him to understand where he got a meal, Jesus explains in verse 34: “My food . . . is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”

The Holy Spirit confers the Father’s love to the heart. We can be full, before the crowd puts us on a stage. There is no other way to be full entering an empty world. If you haven’t learned to find your fullness in God’s presence, you will find an unsatisfying fullness when the world offers you another option. Many look for love in the crowd, in social media likes, in relationships, and in other fountains.

But the psalmist said in Psalm 87:7, “All my fountains are in you.”

Jesus had found the fountain of life—the true fountain that fills the waiting spirit.

People in this world settle for all kinds of loves—romantic love, sexual love, friendship love, celebrity love, pet love, love of country, love of spouse, even family love—to satisfy their unspoken desire for divine love. Some of these may have their place, but all are disordered desires until we understand their context within the great love of God.

The enemy can challenge your calling and mine, when our loves are out of order, with ease. When we find our satisfaction, our fullness, in anything other than the love of God, we are an easy target in the wild. We question God’s love, we follow false idols, and we do injustice out of self-protection—all because our hearts have found fullness, equivalent to a spiritual emptiness, in a love lesser than the love of God for us in Christ Jesus (1 John 4:7–12).

Jesus was full entering the wilderness, and he could face down the deepest questions of his personhood and identity because of that fullness of heart given to him by the Father. Can we experience that same fullness of heart as we go into our own wilderness experiences?


Lord of the Wild, there is an emptiness inside us that the loves of this world are eager to fill. They rush at us from every corner, saying they are the fountain we need. We want to love nothing more than you, Jesus, and for our loves to find their order in the context of your love for us and for your world. In Jesus’s name, amen.


Have you ever made yourself full of a love that was lesser than the love of God? What would it mean for you to welcome the Holy Spirit to speak into that love to help it find its proper place in the context of his love for you and for the entire world?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. This idea that we can be full of lesser love’s that the world has to offer has brought to mind Jesus’s parable of the sower. I personally know that there have been times in my life that my life has been full of “weeds “, the cares and concerns of this world. Those are the times when fruitfulness is smothered out. I have learned to pray that the Holy Spirit keep me weeded out so that I can remain properly focused on what really matters. I believe that the love of God is the fertilizer alongside the living water of the Spirit, is the tending that keeps us fruitful.

  2. I’m full of awe this morning because I woke up with these thoughts “awe-tomatically” flowing through my heart and mind.

    * We need the awe edition of Christianity, not the spectator version.

    * Tune in to God’s “awe-dio” and listen to the still small sound of His voice speaking inside your heart.

    * Step inside God’s “awe-tomobile” and let the awareness of the risen Jesus transport you to and keep you in His presence.

    * Christians are “awe-ditory” learners. We don’t really know Jesus unless we allow our heart to be overwhelmed by His presence.

    * Instead of being an audience church attendees need to be an “awe-dience” completely enthralled by the presence of Jesus.

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