On the Fourth of July it was refreshing to reflect upon our identity as one nation under God. We recognize God is our only hope for cohesion as a people. Drifting from that truth, we lose who we are.
We celebrate diversity around that core principle. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord! Psalm 33:12
The Founding Fathers held forth the God of the Bible as our focal point. It gave us a strong national identity. We became a city set on a hill, the desire of nations.
Without belaboring this point, the gradual extraction of God from our national conscience and the displacement of the Scripture with modern psychology has left us not knowing who we are. Nowhere is this more apparent than among those in recovery.
The best hope for personal restoration is in discovering a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Without this, we grope to find ourselves in lesser things. We become subject to the evil one who employs cunning schemes to deceive and redefine us. He uses powerful contemporary influences to convince us against the truth. He can even sway the masses. It is baffling!
Take heart! The evil one is an imposter. He fears the individual who knows who they are based upon the truth of God’s Word! Satan will ultimately face exposure and defeat! Isaiah 14:16-17 Have no fear, good predates evil and truth prevails over deception in the end!
From our Venues of Ministry…
Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit was led by the Spirit into a barren wasteland for the purpose of being tested by the evil one. Jesus had eaten nothing for 40 days and being physically weakened, the devil questioned His identity by saying “If you are the Son of God…”
Mind you, the devil and his demonic forces knew full well Who Jesus was (and is). (See verses 33-34 & Acts 19:15, James 2:19) They recognized His powerful potential and wanted to undermine Him. His parents had protected Him early on from the evil intentions of King Herod. Now alone, Jesus faced a personal test.
At first, we think tests are a bad thing. We especially find it hard to believe that God would allow Jesus to be tested of the devil to prove Who He was and that His strong identity would lead to victory!
You will remember that God allowed Job to be severely tested too. It was not to defeat him, but to manifest his integrity, (his wholeness). He triumphed in the end. So did Jesus and so can we!
Test One involved natural PLEASURE, verses 3-4
The appetites of the flesh, sensual craving and immediate gratification, are alw ays the first line of testing. It was true for Eve and Adam in the Garden and continues to our day.
Test Two involved POPULARITY and POWER, verses 5-8
How many “likes” we can poll is a faulty basis for identity. Being disliked can be devastating, but being controlled by the praises of others is a greater test. Proverbs 27:21 Popularity and Power intoxicate more than wine.
Test Three involved PRESUMPTION, verses 9-12
King David prayed, Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins. Psalm 19:13
Being careless with God’s grace and always expecting to be “bailed out” of trouble is a deception. (As a recovering alcoholic I came close to a deadly cliff in my presumption upon God’s grace and forgiveness.)
Jesus rebuffed the devil’s tests by quoting the Word of God. Repeatedly He said, “It is written”! Even when the devil twisted the Scripture to selfish advantage, Jesus knew Who He was.
Interestingly, the devil departed from Jesus “until a more opportune time.” And Jesus went home to Nazareth. There among His own people, He found and read publicly the passage about Himself recorded in Isaiah 61.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
Often it is among our own people that our true identity in God is tested the most. Your “Mom and them” may not always really know who you are. Overly identifying with “my people” can restrict our greater destiny in the Spirit. Paul alludes to this in 2 Corinthians 5:16.
Part of the DFM mission is to help empower people to discover their God-given identity through Jesus Christ. May I encourage you to find yourself in the Word of God. Get the historical facts right, but rise above to find the spiritual application for yourself. Know this, our identity will surely be tested!
When Jesus said, “It is written,” He spoke with heavenly authority! More than magically quoting Scriptures, He really knew Who He was. Do we? The people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits. Daniel 11:32
Thank you for your special Summer financial support as we continue to fulfill God’s mission to reach broken people with the whole truth.