Looking at the model of Kingdom Conflict from Luke 4, the first attack Satan launches against Jesus is not the temptation of the flesh but one against Christ’s identity. Satan says “IF you are the Son of God…” (and all you Greek scholars out there please grant me a little grace, since the only Greek I know is “oopa!”). Anyways, I see this as a kind of two pronged attack: Satan is telling Jesus to prove who he is, and simultaneously tempting him with the flesh. If it were me in that situation I’d probably come out losing because either I’d say “You don’t believe me? Just you watch” and then prove myself OR, I’d resist temptation and sit around for weeks if not months stewing in doubt. “I didn’t do it. Does that mean I’m not who I thought I was? Could I have done it if I had wanted to? But I didn’t? What if I can’t?” And so on.
I’m sure there are plenty of ways to fight off this kind of attack but I’m looking at what Jesus did here. Now with the angels to save him verse it isn’t addressed directly and is actually completely sidestepped which suggests to me that this battle was won before Jesus ever set foot onto the field. In other words, Jesus was so confident in who he was and in his relationship to the Father, that there was no question. So we need to do the same. But there’s a catch. I can’t tell you who you are. Not only do I not know you since you’re on the other side of this audio recording, but if I did know you, it wouldn’t be helpful for me to tell you who you are because it won’t be inside of you. It won’t serve you in a fight because it won’t be instinctive.
It’s one reason I’ve been camping out on this idea of identity for the past couple of days. It’s really hard to look deep inside and ask “Who am I” then come up with an actual answer. I don’t really have an answer for this one. I wish I did, but let me share with you some of the pitfalls I encountered while trying to find an answer. Hopefully you’ll be able to avoid them.
Don’t discount your past. We are new creations in Christ, but we still have a history. We still have baggage and wounds and hurts to deal with. We still have everyone we knew from our pre-Christ days (if you’re like me) who don’t just go away when we find Christ. We still have the old temptations that can rise up against us in weakness. I may not have liked who I was, but ignoring it didn’t really make a difference.
Don’t discount your dreams. “Dreams deferred make the heart sick, but hope fulfilled is the tree of life.” You may be a new creation, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the dream that God gave you.
Don’t discount yourself. You may not be “good enough” but perfection is generally overrated. It’s a wonderful thing if we’re talking about how Christ is perfect where we are not, but that’s the thing, we are NOT PERFECT. If we were, there would be no need for Christ and no need for him to stand in the gap for us. In our weakness he is strong and glorified. Therefore personal perfection is overrated. Why would I want to glorify myself instead of Christ?