Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. Matthew 4:3
Matthew 3:16 – 4:1-10
At Jesus’ baptism, God affirmed Him as His Son. However, Satan immediately came to tempt Him by attacking His identity in God. His identity was rooted in His Sonship with God. Satan hinted Jesus that whatever God told Him wasn’t true; he wanted Him to think that God couldn’t possibly love Him so much, and that He needed to ‘do’ something to ‘earn’ His sonship, hence the appeal to turn a stone into bread.
Superficially, it appears as though Satan wanted Jesus to ‘harmlessly’ work a miracle or display His power, but beneath that is an attempt to question and undermine His Sonship, His calling and His place in God. Satan was secretly luring him into ‘the performance trap.’ This is when you think you have to do something to earn the love of God…or that you are not ‘enough’ before God, until you do or have something.
But Jesus didn’t have to prove anything to the devil. He knew that His Sonship was not a function of His ability to work wonders; it was by the election of Grace and of the will of the Father. The same is true about every child of God – It is by grace that you were saved and accepted in the beloved, not by your works.
At the root of every temptation is an attack on our identity in God. Adam and Eve fell for this same temptation because they were confused about their identity in God. The tempter tricked them and made them feel they needed something extra to be like God, and they fell for it, but unknown to them, they were already ‘gods,’ made in the image and likeness of God. Many a time, we fall for Satan’s stratagems because we are not secure in the identity God has given us as His children; in some cases, we live below our dignity: sons of the Almighty, behaving like paupers and orphans.
Satan sells various doubts to us; “If you are truly God’s child, how come you have all these challenges in your life?” “If God truly loves you, why does He allow you go through pain when He has the power to make it go away?” “If you are a child of God, then you would have had all your prayers answered immediately.” When you allow yourself to obsess on these things, they birth insecurity, a sense of worthlessness and a need to perform to earn God’s love; sometimes, some people just abandon the faith altogether. You must realize that your relationship with God is a function of His choice; thus, you must be secure in His love and not allow the tempter make you think and act otherwise.
+ Ask God to give you the grace to always be assured of your place in Him, His plans for you and of the fact that you are accepted in the beloved.
+ Ask Him to deliver you from the performance trap – trying to find acceptance before God and man by ‘over-performing’, not being true to yourself.