Three Temptations to Accept False Identity


I am what I do (performance)
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3)
Jesus hadn’t done any miracles yet. He spent the first 30 years of his life as a carpenter. The devil tempts him to find his identity in what he can do. “Prove you’re worth something; demonstrate that you have value. Achieve something. You’re hungry, turn this stone into bread.”
We are all tempted to form our identity around what we can do, our achievements, our performance, our success.

I am what I have (possessions)
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:5-7)
We live in a culture that defines success by possessions. What do you own, where do you live, what do you drive? We tend to measure ourselves by comparisons to others.
It’s a false identity to form your self-worth by what you own or what you can buy. You’ll never find satisfaction. You’ll always want more. And you’ll be stalled both emotionally and spiritually if you’re living with a false identity.

I am what others think (popularity)
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. (Luke 4:9)
If Jesus would’ve jumped off the highest point of the temple and survived, that would’ve impressed the crowd. The temple was almost 200 feet tall—twenty stories! He would’ve been instantly popular.
To form our identity based on what other people think, based on our popularity, has always been a temptation. But even more so today in the era of social media. Everyone has a platform now to present themselves to the world. Of course, what you see on social media is not the whole story. It’s the highlight reel. Sometimes it’s a pretend story. And yet so many are caught up in their number of “followers” and “likes.”

People are making a whole living of it. If they can convince advertizers that they have a sufficient following on Instagram or YouTube, they can make money.

Just as the devil tempted Jesus to base his identity on performance, possessions, or popularity, he brings the same temptations to you and me. I must intentionally resist conformity, and instead Embrace My True Identity.

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