The other day I told you that opposition from the enemy always follows a true encounter with God. Ask any follower of Christ and they’ll tell you the very thing they feel God speaking over them is the very thing they find called into question.
This is exactly what Jesus experienced in the desert after his baptism; a fact that I hope you will find most comforting in your own times of questioning.
And Lewis, you will question God.
It’s been my experience that the first thing you’ll question is who you are. It makes sense. We spend so much of our lives bouncing from one thing to another, trying to answer that question, trying to figure out who we are. So, the moment we land on a solid answer, why wouldn’t the enemy try to knock us off balance?
At Jesus’ baptism God says, “This is my son…” God confirms Jesus’ identity with those four words.
Here’s the good news: He says the same about us. Here’s the bad news: that’s not exactly what we want to hear.
We want to hear God say four different words: “You are an artist,” or “You are a musician,” or, “You are a doctor.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve flippantly said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, God. I’m your child. But in real life…”
Until I learned to identify myself as a child of God, until that became the core, the foundation of who I am, my identity remained fluid and unstable.
I’m sorry to tell you, as a fallen and fragile human being, things don’t get easier once you begin identifying yourself as a child of God.
Again, look what happened to Jesus once he did. And again, look at how Jesus responded to the questions that came.
The first thing the devil questioned was Jesus’ identity and calling, which for Jesus was the same thing – Son of God. The devil says, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:3)
In a sense, he’s asking, “If you’re really the Son of God, if this is what God has promised you, shouldn’t you be able to bring bread to the desert? Isn’t that what He did for the children He called out of Egypt while they were in the desert on their way to the Promised Land? If you could do this, wouldn’t it prove that what God said about you was true?”
Tired and hungry from fasting, I imagine the frustration that must have flooded Jesus’ mind when he heard these words. Seeking rest from the arid desert heat, I can see him leaning against a boulder, sinking to the ground, the stone shielding him from the unrelenting sun. And there, finding relief in the shade cast over his body, seeking relief for his mind.
As the deceiver’s words questioned what God had said about him I don’t think it’s ridiculous to imagine Jesus whispering to The Father Psalm 119:49: “Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope.”
Lewis, when Jesus struggled he found comfort in scripture. He quoted scripture when the devil questioned him in the desert. And he quoted scripture when he questioned God on the cross.
But he didn’t just look to scripture for comfort. He used it for combat. Gathering his strength and wits he said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
With that verse from Deuteronomy Jesus tells the enemy I know who I am, not by what I do, but by what God has said about me. I don’t need to prove anything. His words, His promises are what sustain and validate me.
The cool thing is, Jesus would prove he was the Son of God. And he would use bread to do it.
Instead of proving it by providing bread for himself, Jesus provided bread for thousands of people on multiple occasions. Matthew 14:19 says, “Taking the loaves…and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.” I wonder if as he was giving thanks and breaking the bread he thought back to that moment in the desert, and smiled? I wonder if that smile made the devil cringe?
Lewis, as always, follow Jesus’ example. When the words of others – or even your own – question who you are and what you’ve been called to you need only to ask one question of your own: Who does God say that I am? Rest assured, and remind yourself of the answer:
I am God’s child.
*This is the second letter in a series of four. Check out the first letter Why Questioning God Is Normal by clicking here, the third, God Loves Me? I Doubt It by clicking here, and the final letter, Why God Is My Last Priority by clicking here.
Are you trying to build your identity on anything other than I am God’s child? Do you think maybe that’s why you continually question who you are and what to do with your life?
What scriptures empower you to deal with doubt?
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