Losing weight, getting more education, and managing debt and stress top the U.S. government's list of most popular resolutions for a new year. Certainly, self-betterment in things such as health or finances is a noble goal. But issues in these areas are often mere symptoms of an underlying spiritual condition relating to whom or what we each believe we are—our identities. Consequently we use money, education, work and so many other things as means to define ourselves and steer our own destinies.
I'm convinced that Satan loves to trap us in an endless cycle of "strategies" for self-improvement. In doing so, he keeps us on a treadmill where we consistently exert much effort, but get virtually nowhere. At the end of the week, month or year, too often we're in the same condition in search of yet another regime in which we can find purpose and meaning.
Ultimately Satan's strategy is to fill our minds with other voices that detract from the voice of truth that identifies us with Christ: a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), righteous (2 Cor. 5:21), chosen (Eph. 1:5) and accepted (Eph. 1:6). Satan knows that identity gives way to purpose and mission. That is, when you know who you are, you know what to do. So if he can confuse us about the former, then we'll be on a never-ending search for the latter.
There is, however, a single, simple spiritual method that Jesus used when faced with similar issues. And you too can apply its power in the same way to begin to silence the enemy, build confidence in your identity in Christ, and thus, change your life. Let's explore.
Jesus' Temptation Is Ours Too
At His baptism by John the Baptist, as Jesus arose from the water, the heavens were opened, the Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove and the Lord spoke:
"And a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'" (Matt. 3:17).
Jesus's baptism account marks the first time recorded in Scripture that God publicly spoke an identity upon Jesus. Freshly baptized, God declared Him to be His Son. And even further He assured His Son of just how pleased He was with Him.
Immediately following, the Bible records that Jesus was sent out into the wilderness, where after 40 days of fasting, He was famished. Here, at His weakest moment, the devil came to tempt.
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