The Temptation of “If”
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”Luke 4:3-4
Turning My Page
If paralyzed me. Growing up, I feared saying and doing the wrong things and therefore changed my beliefs when pressed by the opinions of others. I was a chameleon, shifting my colors to blend in. I was misled and often hurt by those who could out-argue me. It took a desert experience, my pregnancy with Jonathan, for me to realize nothing but God would satisfy.
I began studying the character of God and he revealed my identity. But the enemy of my soul never let up. I am oppressed by the constant battering question, “What if you fail?” Fail as a wife, mother, Christian, turning the page on suicide. Satan questions my identity, my understanding of God, and my witness.
Why wouldn’t he? Satan successfully turned Adam and Eve from God with “did God really say that”. He used the word if three times when tempting Jesus at the beginning of his ministry. Since Satan was so bold to question the son of God’s identity, why would he not question mine?
Jesus didn’t back down from the fight because he spent time with his heavenly father. He knew him, and God knew his son.
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”Matthew 3:17
My identity is not wrapped up in my position, possessions, or power. Marriage, motherhood, or ministry can all disappear and I still am who God says I am, and he is who he says he is.
“If” loses its grip the more my identity is found in Christ.
Turning Your Page
Satan can destroy you on the cliff of “if”. He’ll take you to the great heights of success and show you all he’ll give you if you submit to him. He’ll offer whatever he thinks will turn you away from God, but scripture doesn’t hide the character of God and Jesus used scripture to declare the truth when confronted with a potential identity crisis. You become more able to see the truth behind the “if” when you get to know God and are secure in your own identity. Establish experiences, traditions, prayer, fellowship, and reason as a part of your spiritual routine. These are all ways that Jesus grew up to know his Father.
- The “if” can be subtle. Identify areas Satan tempts you to reject God.
- How does the world describe you? How does God describe you?
- What scriptures strengthen your identity in Christ? For example, if you are struggling with believing you are doing the right thing as a mother.
- Genesis 3:20: “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” (Motherhood was created by God)
- 1 Peter 3:4: “You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” ( God values my unique spirit as a woman)
Lord, you know me inside and out. May I know you so well that when I hear the word “if” I recognize the enemy and declare the truth of who you are. Amen
Yes! Let’s turn the page. You’re right when you write that Satan will “offer whatever he thinks will turn you away from God” He tried that with me… and for a while, I walked in that direction. But Satan has no real authority. He is a counterfeit and when we realize we have power over him, he loses his influences.
He wanted to be God and scripture reveals Satan’s tactics and our weapons to fight back. Thanks for commenting!
This is a powerful thought: ““If” loses its grip the more my identity is found in Christ.” Thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you Julie.
What a powerful statement: If” loses its grip the more my identity is found in Christ.” Thank you for critical reminders.
Thank you for turning the page with me.