We have been on a trek through Matthew 4 discovering principles to help us overcome our temptations. In part one we looked at being filled with the Spirit and practicing the spiritual disciplines. In part two we learned the importance of being filled with the Word and awareness. In part three the importance of being wise and knowing God was highlighted. Today we focus on knowing our identity.
If You Are…
Have you ever heard those questions? Those questions which cast doubt. Are you really a Christian? Are you really a child of God? You know those questions that question your identity. When a person has been transformed by Christ, he is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). He is in Christ now, in Christ is our new identity, it is who we are. The devil knows this and wants you to doubt it, he even tried it with Jesus, “if you are the Son of God” (Matt. 4:3,6). The devil tried to get Jesus to doubt his identity, his purpose, his Father.
If the devil tried to get Jesus to doubt his identity, he surely will try this on the believer. Have you ever heard those words of self-doubt or accusations in your mind?
- “Christians don’t do that.”
- “God doesn’t love you”
- “Nobody wants you”
- “Are you really God’s child”
You have heard it, the doubt, the fear, the temptation to question your identity in Christ. The devil knows if you doubt who you are, you doubt the One who defines you. If you doubt the one who defines you, you will look to other people, ideas or things to define who you are. Jesus was tempted to doubt who he was and gratify himself. He was tempted to doubt his identity, forgo his mission and take his life in his own hands. But Jesus knew who he was, knew his purpose and trusted His Father.
Know Your Identity, Your Purpose, Your Father
I love the whole Bible, but some portions of Scripture have been an anchor to my soul. One of those passages is Ephesians 1. In Ephesians 1 Paul tells us we we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Then he provides us with a list of some of those blessings,
- Adopted as sons
- An heir
- Filled with His Spirit
What a list of his grace which is lavished on us and that is just one chapter in Ephesians. When Christ chose us that list becomes our identity. The old you is gone, you are now defined by the spiritual blessings in Christ, which is amazing grace. Don’t let Satan or yourself, for that matter, question who the Father says you are.
Now that you are in Christ, you are free to live out your purpose. Read this portion of Ephesians with me,
he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. – Ephesians 1:5-6
Do you see your purpose? We were predestined for adoption as sons, according to his will, why? To the praise of his glorious grace. You were created and destined to praise God’s grace. You were created to bring glory to God, that is our purpose. Because of Christ defeat of Satan in Matthew 4 and ultimately at the cross, those who have placed their trust in Christ are able to fulfill their created purpose, to praise God’s glorious grace.
All of this is made possible because of the love of God for us. Paul says “Blessed be God the Father…who has blessed us,” (Eph. 1:3). The Father loves you enough to send His son to a cross in your place, in order that you can bring praise to His grace. We must not miss the love of the Trinity in this passage. We are blessed by the Father, through Christ life, death, ressurection and ascension, all this guaranteed by the deposit of The Holy Spirit in our life. What an awesome God we serve, who loved us enough to call us out of sin and adopted us as sons.
What does all this have to do with overcoming temptation? Everything! When we see and savor all that the Triune God has done for us, why would we settle for the unfulfilling lies of a devil who only delivers a shattered identity, purposeless living, and bondage. In the moment of temptation and trial we must know our identity in Christ and trust in what the Father lavishes on us, like Christ did in Matthew 4.
Until Next Time
Soli Deo Gloria