Disciples often talk about being filled with the Holy Spirit. And rightly so, as the bible tells us to go on being filled with God’s Spirit again and again and again (Ephesians 5:18). But to be full of the Spirit doesn’t mean life will be carefree and easy. In fact it might be quite the opposite.

Jesus discovered just this after his baptism. He got filled up with God and before he knew it the Holy Spirit led him into a desert-like place (Luke 4:1). There he remained fasting for 40 days before, in his weakness, the devil tested him.

Mmm. That doesn’t sound like the most pleasant of experiences. And yet it was just what Jesus needed to prepare him and empower him for the future (Luke 4:14), which is why the Spirit led him there.

This gives a whole new perspective to the difficult things we face in life. For they may well serve a bigger divine purpose – to make us more resilient in character, more dependant on God and more obedient to his word. So don’t be surprised when trials come. They’re to be expected. It’s how you react in them and come out of them that really matters. As Rick Warren says, tough times can either make us bitter, or better. The choice is ours.