How often we base our identity in what we possess, what we do, and how others perceive us. Now if Jesus was tempted to live out of these false centers and gain his sense of identity from possessions, actions, and esteem of others, how much more we who are the adopted sons are called to confront this ever-present tendency in our hearts.
All three of Christ’s temptations in the wilderness were temptations to live out of a false center… to gain his sense of identity from something other that the love and delight of His heavenly Father.
First the tempter invited Jesus to turn stones into bread, But Jesus said no to this diabolical invitation to establish himself on the basis of his doing.
Then the tempter invited him to throw himself from the top of the temple into the crowds below, so they would immediately recognize him as the Messiah. Again Jesus rejected the temptation. He chose not to base his identity on the acclaim of others.
Finally the tempter offered him all the kingdoms of the world. But once again Jesus rejected the offer, refusing to find his identity in possessions and power.
Where are you prone to try and find your sense of identity? Is it in your possessions, power, approval and esteem of others? Is it by your success in your career?
Jesus knew who he was before God and in God. He could therefore resist temptations to live his life out of a false center based on possessions, actions or the esteem of others. In Christ, we can do the same!