Last week I was sitting in several ministry meetings in San Antonio, TX. There are some very exciting things happening with our Foundry School of Discipleship. As I was driving through the city I reminisced of other times I had been to San Antonio. I have always glamorized the city since my childhood and my love for the Spurs. Growing up in Nebraska didn’t give us many options for sports teams. My youth pastor was a Rockets fan and I would always root against him. It just so happened that they played the Spurs a lot! From David Robinson, Sean Elliott and Avery Johnson to Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, they were my team!
I was a Junior in High School the first time I was in San Antonio. It was exciting to go somewhere new. When we left I remember thinking, “until next time.” Four years ago, I was able to take 20 of our students on a state-side missions trip back to San Antonio. I still love the city and thought as we were leaving, “until next time!”
Last week I was sitting in the same building in that same city that we ministered in four years ago. God is beginning some exciting things for us to bring back to Memphis. When I left this time I once again said, “until next time.”
I hope you know what I am talking about. We say this phrase when we talk about places but also about people. When I was dating my wife, it started as a long-distance relationship. Every time I had to leave after a visit I had the same thought...that’s right, “until next time!” I’m glad I don’t have to say that anymore!
Occasionally, there are times that I say, “I hope there isn’t a next time!” Maybe I say that more than occasionally! This would entail times that hurt. Moments that broke us. People who abused or misused us. An event or moment that didn’t go well.
When I was younger I was very shy. I had to take speech as part of my English class. I hated every part of it. Funny that standing in front of people and speaking is now what I do several times a week. After every speech I had to give I remember thinking, “I hope there is never a next time!” Have you been there?!
Jesus had a moment like that! In fact, He probably had several. Don’t forget that although He was fully God He was also fully man. He understood everything we have been through.
There was a time right after His water baptism that the Spirit took Him to the wilderness. He fasted for 40 days. That alone would make me say, I hope there isn’t a next time! At the end of that time Satan came and tempted Jesus. He tempted Him with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. What an encounter! Jesus and Satan, head-to-head. Satan found Jesus at His most vulnerable state. Not only hungry and tired, but human. I would venture to say that Jesus walked away with the thought, “I hope there isn’t a next time!”
Satan had another thought. We see it in Luke 4, “When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.”
This wasn’t it for Jesus. He wasn’t free from some test to then live out His perfect life without pushback. No! “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
He would disappear at night to pray. He would send people away to spend time with His Father. He knew that Satan was waiting “until next time.”
And we should do the same. Get away. Find a quiet place. Learn how to fight. There will be a next time! Don’t get caught unaware. Don’t let your guard down. Be vigilant. For our enemy is like a lion, seeking to devour us. He won’t quit and neither should we!
Let’s be ready for next time. I want to be able to say back to the devil, with no fear or timidity, “until next time!”