1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
“If you are, then prove it. Perform for me,” says the voice of Satan.
We hear this very thing spoken to us daily. The words of the enemy. They come from social media, TV, friends, family, and tragically from ourselves. They challenge us, and not in the good motivating type of way. These words challenge who we are. That we are loved and valued, that we are worth being loved and valued. If you are the daughter of God, then shouldn’t you be smarter, prettier, more successful, more well spoken? Shouldn’t you work harder?
I heard this statement while listening to the book Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think? By Jonathan Martin(@theboyonthebike). I don’t have the exact quote as I was listening, but he said that Satan is still speaking to us the words he spoke to Jesus, now more than ever; “If you are, then prove it.” I’m not sure if he would use the term, but so far, Prototype is a book about Sonship. I’m a little over half way through.
So what sustains us in the wilderness of these messages coming at us?
The voice of the accuser pelting us daily, even hourly with “then prove it” statements? How are we tackling the battle after the healing moments at a Shiloh Place event? After the revelation we get from reading a Jack Frost book? After seeing Trisha at Randy Clark’s GSSM?
The answer is in these verses:
16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
We find the weapon of Jesus’ warfare in Matthew 3:17. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
The affirmation and blessing of Jesus’ identity by the Father is what wins his battle in the wilderness. Such affirmation helps us defend ourselves from the enemy’s attacks on our acceptance as sons and daughters of God. “I’ve never heard God say that over me, though,” you say. Fair enough. But think about your story with God for a minute.
What might affirmation look like?
As a ministry leader, I am not immune to these voices and attacks against my selfhood, character, calling, you name it. They come constantly as I face new challenges. But I have a few key moments in my life that I fall back on. Do they make me sure that I can do everything? No; they make me sure that failure is something that happens, not who I am.
As a ministry leader, I am not immune to these voices and attacks against my selfhood, character, calling, you name it.
One of these moments I tell in my testimony is how God delved into my hidden core pain on the floor of a small church in Georgetown, SC. I had only seen my dad three times from the age of six to 23. During ministry time in these meetings, a question I never consciously wondered came roaring up from the deepest part of me. “Why did you leave!?” screamed my soul. Then came peace. I knew why he left. I didn’t like it, but I knew the facts. There were no questions. But four year-old me didn’t understand at all. This was a, “This is my beloved son” moment in my life. I can point to it when an attack starts. He cared enough to deliver me from this very specific, deep pain that affected me although I didn’t know it was there. That is quite affirming of who I am to Him.
The Enemy’s Hail Mary
The enemy tempts Jesus in the wilderness three times. The enemy questions his identity and character. Notice that after Jesus won the battle of his identity in the first two temptations the last temptation was an automatic victory. Notice how the enemy escalates the challenges so quickly. He knew he was losing so he decided just to throw up a Hail Mary (Ha! See what I did there?). Satan ridiculously offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would worship him. I picture Satan wishing he could snatch the words back as soon as he said them, realizing how stupid and desperate it must have sounded. Then he just gave up. That was all he had.
We can have the same kind of victories. What is your story? When did he meet you, heal you, save you, deliver you? He didn’t do that because he had to. He did that because you are His and guess what? He is well pleased with you. The words of the enemy may never go away completely but they will lose their power when we receive the words of the Father saying, “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Wield those moments like a weapon that silences the voice of the enemy, even when it sounds like your own voice.
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Although you can attend our Encounters in any order, I have always liked the idea of attending the Power of Father’s Love event first. At this point, thousands of people have had “This is my son, my daugher” moments at these events. These moments are powerful and healing. They provide a first step for so many into our place of Sonship. We have several more Father’s Love events this year. Check our July event in West Greenwich, RI at shilohplaceschools.com.
Have a wonderful summer! – Doug