By Lauren V. Macaraeg & AQUA Grace: Joanie Yu, Cherry De Guzman, Frida Ira Sampiano, Adi Pestano, Leslie Manguba, Ena Pineda
“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
You’ve probably watched long-lost sons and daughters of millionaires living like paupers in telenovelas. Another common trick that kontrabidas* use to make the lives of the bidas** miserable is to hide their true identity from them. Again, the same goes true for the love story between God and man.
Meet Ginger. She is a tiny, but powerful horse. Yet she is not able to utilize her full strength or speed because she shakes with fear. She is even nervous when little dogs bark at her! I’m praying for this beautiful horse. She frustrated me while I was riding her, but I still like her 🙂 (May 25, 2014, Mt. Makiling Re-creation Center ) Photo by Lauren Macaraeg
Those of us who have genuinely put our faith in Jesus Christ have a new identity in the Lord. We are now the beloved children of God (John 1:12-13). The enemy, however, doesn’t want us to know who we truly are in Christ or to realize the full extent of this truth. That’s why he tries so hard to deceive us about our identity.
The enemy even tried to deceive Jesus Himself about His identity during the time He was on earth! From the temptation of Jesus, we can see some of the tactics that the enemy uses when he tries to confuse us about our identity in Christ.
First, the enemy tried to make Jesus doubt His identity by doubting God’s word. The very first word he used was “if”. The truth was that Jesus was the Son of God, the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16). Yet by opening his words with an “if”, the enemy tried to cast doubt upon the truth about Jesus’ identity:
“If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” (Matt. 4:3)
The enemy also tried to make Jesus doubt His identity by appealing to Jesus’ physical appetite by mentioning bread. Jesus must have been especially hungry after fasting for forty days and forty nights so the enemy tried to use this hunger to his advantage.
Jesus, however, didn’t entertain doubt about His identity as the Son of God nor give in to his physical hunger for food. Instead, he showed His unwavering faith in His Father by quoting God’s word:
“But He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matt. 4:4)
When the enemy realized that Jesus had faith in God’s Word, he also tried to use God’s word to make Jesus doubt His identity, but by twisting it to his own selfish purposes. He encouraged Jesus to prove that He was the Son of God by jumping off from the top of the temple. The enemy even quoted Scripture to make his point, but he used God’s word out of context. Jesus silenced the enemy simply by saying that we should not put the LORD God to the test (Matt. 4:5-7).
We can see the enemy’s desperation towards the end of his showdown with Jesus. He tried to make Jesus doubt His identity by directly lying about his own identity! The enemy does have power, but he is certainly not the king of the universe. He acted though as if he was the king of the universe by offering to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would worship him (Matt. 4:8-9). Yet it was to Jesus, the Son of God, to whom all the kingdoms of the world rightfully belonged! Jesus, who could have rubbed this truth in the enemy’s face, simply said:
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.’” (Matt. 4:10)
After this, the enemy left Jesus in defeat (Matt. 4:11). Jesus used the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, to become victorious over the enemy (Eph. 6:17).
If you noticed, the enemy used similar tactics when he tried to deceive Jesus and when he tried to deceive Eve. He tried to appeal to their physical appetite and their emotions. He twisted the Scriptures and told direct lies. Most importantly, the enemy tried to make them doubt God’s word.
The difference in the outcome of both temptations lied in the difference in how Eve and Jesus reacted to the enemy’s tactics.
Eve almost immediately doubted God’s word. Because of her doubt, she became vulnerable to doubting God’s character and God’s love.
Jesus, on the other hand, firmly believed in God’s word so the enemy was not able to proceed any further with His deceptive tactics. The enemy kept saying “if”, a sign of doubt. Jesus kept saying “It is written”, a proof of faith in God and in His word.
Because of His immovable faith in God’s word, Jesus did not doubt His identity as the Son of God, nor did He doubt God’s character or God’s love.
Like Jesus, may we always believe in the powerful, trustworthy word of God. And may we always believe in our true identity as children of God!
*kontrabidas – Filipino word for “villains”
**bidas – Filipino word for “protagonists”
REFLECT & RECOLLECT (R&R)
1. Are there lies about your identity in God that you believe in or used to believe in?
2. How has your life been affected by lies about your identity in God that you believe in or used to believe in? What specific areas of your life are or were especially affected?