40 Days by Mayada Naami
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
(Acts 1:1-5, ESV)
The number 40 appears often in the Bible—God flooded the Earth for 40 days, Jesus spent 40 days between his Resurrection and Ascension, Moses stayed on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights, and Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days. These are only a few examples of how God has chosen this number to help emphasize times of trials and hardships.
Year-after-year, during the 40 days of Lent season, I have personally felt a spiritual battle leading up to the death and resurrection of Christ. I have spoken to others that have felt the same way and I am convinced that we, as Christians, can experience the same temptations that Jesus was experiencing in the desert prior to His ministry beginning. By resisting temptations, Jesus chose to depend on His Father to supply all His needs and to satisfy His hunger. By following His example, we also can choose to resist temptations and depend on our Father in every challenging situation we encounter.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2, NIV)
In Romans 12:2, we are instructed to not conform to the pattern of this world, yet many of us do. It is difficult to live in this world and choose to follow Jesus. We, as believers, find ourselves struggling daily with guilt and shame after we say and do something that we know is not a reflection of God. He created us in His image and He wants us to reflect His Light—Jesus—to the world. In John 3, we are told, “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light.” When evildoers hate you, rejoice with the knowledge that they hate you because you are shining Jesus’ light into their dark world.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
(John 3:16-21, NIV)