At different points in our lives we are confronted with different forms of the same question –
“Who are you?”
Often the question comes as a challenge to our competence. We are tempted to define ourselves by what we are able to do and/or how well we can do it.
Sometimes we are enticed to delineate our lives in terms how well regarded, received or "important" we are. The eyes and approval of others become our measuring stick.
Alternatively, we may be incited to understand ourselves and portray ourselves in terms of power – how much (or who) we can gain and control for our own purposes.
These three false measurements of identity are common to all of us. Different ones will be weighted in different ways, nuanced with different language and tailored to fit/attack our specific personalities and susceptibilities. However, these kinds of temptations are bait for the traps of pride or self-condemnation for all of us.
Which temptation bites more deeply into your soul, competence, approval or control?
Which one sometimes causes you to become a person with whom you are not comfortable or pleased?
Jesus, too, was tempted in these ways. He was confronted by the devil right after His baptism, directly after His Father in heaven had clearly spoken, “You are My Son with whom I am well pleased.” (The temptations are recorded in Matthew 4:1-11.) His identity was challenged; He was tempted to prove Himself. However, He trusted in the truth of God’s Word, relied on the power of the Holy Spirit and believed in the character of His Father in heaven.
Jesus’ 40-day fast gave Him opportunity to remove all distractions and focus on His life and purpose in God. We are in a busy time of year... a time of year that will likely get even busier as we approach holidays. As we spend time with family and friends, we want to be joyful and relaxed, but can be threatened by these measures: competency, approval and control.
There are a number of creative ways that you can preemptively exercise/strengthen your faith. This is a great time to consider and develop a plan for spiritual growth/depth that will fit you well. You might particularly consider practices related to Scripture, Prayer, Silence, Reflection, Service and/or other Spiritual Disciplines.
Do you have a plan for how you might consecrate yourself to Christ and secure your identity in Him in these months?
~ Coach Tom
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