The question I often ask myself is, “who am I, and what on earth am I here for?” If I can answer that question I will have a secure sense of identity and destiny. However, so much in this world can rob us of our self-image and uniqueness. So much in this world demands that we conform or prove ourselves somehow. I believe that Satan invented identity theft and that trying to steal our identity is one of his key strategies – hey, he even tried it on Jesus!
Before Jesus began his public ministry He goes to the Jordan to be baptized by John: Luk 3:21-22 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Get this! Before Jesus had done anything to prove Himself, (He hadn’t preached any messages or performed any miracles yet), the Father spoke out over Jesus, His love affirmation and approval. Notice what He says about Jesus’ identity: “You are my Son, whom I love…”
But then Jesus is led by the Spirit in the desert where for forty days He is tempted by the Devil. In two of the principal temptations, the Devil tries to undermine Jesus’ sense of identity as the Son of God:
Luk 4:2-4 …He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. (3) The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” (4) Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'” (Notice how he casts doubt of Jesus’ identity and tries to get Jesus to prove himself by doing something supernatural.)
In yet another powerful temptation, Satan tries the same thing from another angle. He is even so sly as to quote Scripture… Luk 4:9-12 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. (10) For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; (11) they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” (12) Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Jesus’ identity as the Son of God is again called into question, but He was unwilling to take the bait and do a temple jumping stunt. He held on to the words His Father had spoken over Him, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
What’s the lesson in all this for you and me?
I believe that we only truly find our identity in and through the affirmation of the Father who created us. When we come to the Father with child-like faith in the Son, whom He sent, He speaks out His favour over our lives. In effect, He says the same words He spoke out over Jesus, “you are my own child, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
I find this so freeing: I don’t have to do stuff to gain Father’s favour, I believe I already have it. I don’t have to do good works to win God’s love and affirmation; rather, I do them because He first loved me. I don’t have to do temple jumping stunts to prove myself to anyone; definitely not the Devil. I must not give in to his attempts at identity theft. I can be secure in my identity as a child of God.
I love the chorus of the song “Good, Good Father,” written by Tony Brown and Pat Barrett which goes:
You’re a good, good Father; that’s who you are, who you are.
And I’m loved by You; that’s who I am, who I am.
We need to know Him as a good, good Father and to know that we are loved by Him. That’s what gives us our sense of who we really are!
Like the apostle John, celebrate your identity as a child of God today. 1Jn 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!