As my son you’re bound to inherit many of my traits. I pray my love for God and my desire to create are passed on to you. I hope the thrill of the unknown captures your heart as it has mine. There’s at least one quality I hope isn’t passed along: no matter how clearly God shows His love for me, I still question Him.
DNA and genetics are hardwired into us. Our instincts are not easily altered. But Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
If you’re saddled with my struggle to trust God’s love, to know what being loved really means, as always, look to Jesus’ example. Look at how he understood the love of The Father.
When God proclaimed, “This is my son, whom I love…” He meant it. If he didn’t, the tempter would have had no reason to call that love into question.
The devil questioned God’s love for Jesus at the temple. Perhaps he wanted Jesus to see people worshiping God for all the good things He had done. Maybe the devil wanted to remind Jesus of God’s promise to always be with us, to “never leave you nor forsake you.” Jesus did find comfort in verses from Deuteronomy, after all.
Once he thinks he’s lulled Jesus into a false sense of security, the tempter says, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: “’He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Put another way, “If God really loves you, and he did say, ‘This is my son, whom I love,’ would he let any harm come to you? Look at all the people below. How many of them has he protected, provided for, come through for at the last second? Think of how sure they are of God’s love for them because they stepped out in faith. So, Jesus, Messiah, step out.”
Lewis, don’t look down your nose at the devil because he tried to manipulate Jesus and failed. There’s a 100% chance that at some point in your life he’s going to manipulate you the exact same way, only he’ll succeed. It happens to all of us. Except Jesus. So look to him for how to deal with it the next time.
Jesus knew the words God spoke over him at his baptism were true. He didn’t need more proof. It was as simple as that. So, he simply responds: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
I can imagine, just before he spoke those words he reminded himself, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,’ and God said, ‘This is my son, whom I love.’
Jesus didn’t fear the devil’s questioning of God’s love. Jesus knew what we often forget: God’s love is perfect, and perfect loves drives out all fear.
Lewis, there’s something else amazing about this story.
In his brilliance, the devil led Jesus right where God wanted him: to the presence of God, to the temple. The devil allowed God His moment before doing what he does best. He twisted the words and promises of God, and tried to use God’s temple, a place of life and hope, to bring doubt and death.
But he failed.
Later, in his brilliance, God led Jesus right where the devil wanted him: to death, to the cross. God allowed the devil his moment before He did what only He can do. He turned the worst tragedy in history into the greatest triumph of all time. He used the devil’s weapon of doubt and death to bring life and hope.
And he succeeded.
Call it irony. Call it creativity. Or, call it love. True love.
Lewis, sometimes the devil’s strategy is to get us close to God in hopes that we’ll let down our guard. Sometimes God’s strategy is to lead us into dark places because that’s where His light shines brightest.
If you forget this, if your faith in God’s love wavers, don’t worry. There is nothing the devil can ruin that God’s love can’t redeem.
I love you. God loves you more.
*This is the third letter in a series of four. Check out the first letter, Why Questioning God Is Normal by clicking here, the second, The Answer To The Question: Who Are You? by clicking here, and the final letter, Why God Is My Last Priority by clicking here.
Do you, too, question God’s love, continually asking Him to prove himself to you? Is it God’s track record or your fear that causes you to doubt?
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