As we saw last week, our identity in Christ starts with something really simple: believing, in your heart, that you are a child of a perfect Heavenly Father who loves you infinitely. It’s a matter of faith.
Faith is our shield against Satan’s temptations (Ephesians 6:16). This is why Satan fights so hard against our identity, because if he gets us to doubt that we are truly God’s children, he can destroy us.
We don’t see Satan appear and speak audibly like he did to Jesus. But he still uses the same temptations. Just in different form. He tempts us to prove that we are children of God by doing, saying, thinking the right thing. We pray hard, read the Bible a lot, go to church, give money, and do many wonderful things, trying to earn God’s favor, trying to act like Christians. Don’t get me wrong—prayer, Bible reading, fellowship with other believers, serving, and giving are all wonderful things. But please take note:
We cannot do these things to prove that we are God’s children.We do these things because we are God’s children. We did not become God’s children by doing good works, and we don’t keep ourselves as His children by doing good works. Remember this: God was “well pleased” with Jesus before He started His ministry.
You cannot save yourself now anymore than you could before. The only way you can remain saved is through Jesus. The only way you can live a “good Christian life” is through Jesus. That’s why we need faith in Jesus. And that is why Satan so desperately attacks our faith.
If we sin, Satan has another tactic: he tries to convince us that God doesn’t want us anymore; that God is disappointed, angry, disapproving, and vengeful. I don’t want to minimize God’s anger at sin, God’s vengeance on those who harm others, or the need to walk as Jesus walked. But Jesus gave us a powerful example in the story of the prodigal son.
The prodigal wasted his father’s money. He treated his father like crap and didn’t come back until he needed something from him. He came back with his tail between his legs, so ashamed that he only wanted to be received as a slave.
But his father saw him and ran to meet him. He threw a big party and celebrated his son’s return. And Jesus told us that, in the same way, there is also incredible joy in Heaven when a sinner repents. Just like that loving father, God is overjoyed when you come to Him for help after you’ve messed up. He is happy to help His children—because He loves us!
Maybe you struggle with your identity. Maybe you are afraid of God. Maybe you wonder whether you are really His child, or whether He approves of you.
Just come to Him. Bring your shame, your fear, your sin, your guilt, whatever you’re dealing with. He’s not intimidated by it. He wants to reveal to you that you are His beloved child! Imagine him, not as an angry abuser who growls at you, but as a father who comes running to meet you and celebrate you. Embrace what He says about you and ask Him to speak it deep into your heart.
I can guarantee you one thing:
When you get hold of your identity as God’s child, you will be equipped to fight for His kingdom like never before.
So don’t be surprised if Satan does all he can to destroy your identity. But don’t be afraid. Your Father has already promised His children:
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4, NKJV)