What do you see when you look into the fractured reflection of who you are? Who are you? How do you know?
When Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tested, the primary site of attack is His identity: “if you are the Son of God… then prove it!”
This is the central test of our lives too: our identity as adopted children of God is continually assaulted. Jesus’ response to the assault on his identity is illustrative for us as He answers the test with scripture (Deuteronomy 8:4):
Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Jesus’ choice of scripture comes from the occasion of God affirming His people then, and reminding us now, that during the 40 years in the wilderness, God took care of His people: “You are mine.” Jesus’ answer is a way of saying, “I don’t need any act of magic or any other kind of performance to prove I belong to my Father.”
Living on Every Word
You are my child, whom I love, with you I am entirely delighted.
We are invited and enfolded into the eternal Triune relationship for which we are made.*
Therefore, in whatever wilderness we might find ourselves, surely the worst wasteland is the loss of who we are. Thus we can scarcely imagine, let alone say it out loud: this is how the Father sees us; we are His adopted children – and to our wonderful surprise – it is identical to how He sees His Son Jesus.
Daily this true identity is undermined or overwhelmed by tests and accusations that threaten to cause us to forget God made us for Himself. Jesus comes to our defence – to our vindication – our justification: we are His.
John Owen wrote many years ago (“Sin and Temptation”, circa 1667):
When Christ comes with his spiritual power upon the soul to conquer it to himself, he hath no quiet landing place. He can set foot upon no ground but what he must fight for.
In deed He does fight for us – for our souls – for the sake of our new identity in Christ.
Come O Lord with your spiritual power to conquer me unto Yourself.
Set foot upon every ground and fight for me again today that I may know that I am yours.
Remind me again; and again, remind me who I am to you.
This post comes with gratitude and credit to my friend Dr. Dan Sadowski who recently taught on this topic.
* At the centre of the universe is a relationship. That is the most fundamental truth I know. It is out of that relationship that you and I were created and redeemed. And it is for that relationship that you and I were created and redeemed. The centre reality is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Darrell Johnson, “Experiencing the Trinity“.