Why did the spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness? To answer that question, we are going to come at it from a different angle today because of everything that's going on in the world. Your identity will be tested. If we don't create identity habits we will misinterpret what's happening. Numbers 13:26-33 describes the story about the twelve spies that were sent out to the promised land and when they come back, they break up into two groups of people. One group consisted of ten spies and the other two men were Joshua and Caleb. The ten spies said that the enemy saw them like they were like grasshoppers in their our own sight and so we were in theirs. They were unable to meet what was happening in their life because they were unable to meet the challenges that were before them that they were created to overcome because of a bad identity. But Joshua and Caleb said let us go up at once as we are well able to overcome the challenge.
It was once said that those who say they can and those who say they can't are both right. So even right now as we consider this story we are reminded that the circumstance of a situation are not as important as the conclusion that we're placing on it. There's a lot going on in the world right now and you need to know that you are a Joshua and Caleb. You are interpreting things differently. You are putting a higher conclusion on what's going on. You believe that you are well able. You may not feel it right now but you are putting a higher conclusion on what's going on.
So we're going after our identity again because if we have a grasshopper mentality if we think we're less than if we think, if we're a victim then we're going to misinterpret what's happening because how we interpret ourselves will be how will interpret the world. We cannot consistently do what we do not believe we are. Let that sink in. We cannot consistently do what we do not believe we are. You know if we try to behave opposite of our identity beliefs then we will almost always revert back to behaviors consistent with our beliefs about ourselves.
Jesus was told who he was and was given God's approval before he started his ministry. In Matthew 3:16 and 17 it says that when Jesus was baptized he came up immediately from the water and behold the heavens were opened to him and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon him and suddenly a voice came from heaven saying "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." What a powerful moment this baptism was to Jesus as we see him coming up out of the water and him seeing the heavens open. So he hears these words "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased" and it reminds us that before we try to do anything for God, we need to hear the voice from heaven telling us who we are and that God approves of us.
In order to fight our daily battles we put on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate of God's approval is the true beginning point for us to have a healthy life. Whatever lies we are carrying that are creating a lack of approval only work to weaken our faith. If we're a child of God, if we're sincere and hungry to just be pleasing to him and if we recognize that Jesus was pleasing to God in obedience too, that gives us the assurance that we a really are the son or daughter of the most high King..
After Jesus heard these words of assurance, it says that in Matthew 4 that he was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. You see, it wasn't enough for Jesus to hear these words of his father's affirmation, but he needed to believe them as part of his identity until he knew the truth of who he was for himself, otherwise his ministry would lack the second part of a solid identity foundation and that is to know at the deepest level of his soul that he was who God called him to be. What he was called was really from Father God and not some other voice.
So God orchestrated this struggle in Jesus life so he could defeat the three big lies about his identity and like Jesus we're going to have times when we're led by the spirit into a seemingly wilderness season, maybe a seemingly spiritual dry season or we get to overcome some kingpin lies. The good news of all of this is that Jesus only spent 40 days in the wilderness the Israelites spent 40 years you don't need to spend a lot of time there. As we learn through the scripture, Jesus overcame the lies through the word of God, by the scripture being alive in him.
The devil's temptation of Jesus in the wilderness is a fascinating situation. Satan tempted him there and he wanted him to embrace one or all of these three main identity lies. Each of the temptations in Matthew 4 starts with the words " if you are the son of God". Understand that when we embrace God's approval and our identity in him the enemy is going to battle truth. He knows that if we believe we're grasshoppers, he knows that if we embrace that we're victims, if we listen to he's accusing words that we are a failure, that were less than, that there's something uniquely wrong with us, if we embrace these ideas then we will be neutralized in what were called to do.
So what are the three areas where Jesus was tempted? The three main lies can be put into the " I am " language. "I am" what I do which is the performance based identity. "I am" what I have, which is the possession based identity and lastly is "I am" if I am liked, the popularity based identity.
The first "I am" which is the performance based identity, the devil said "if you are the son of God command that these stones to become bread" is basically asking Jesus to prove that he is someone by doing something significant. Prove you are something! You know that's the same life for us today as we are told that we aren't something or somebody until you've done something. No, it's the other way around. We believe that we are something and then we will actually do great exploits.
The second one is "I am" what I have which is the possession based identity. In Matthew 4:6 the devil asks "if you are the son of God throw yourself down for it is written he shall give his Angels charge over you". Basically the devil is saying "Jesus prove you are someone by having Angels manifest all around him". We are not what we have. If we need a certain car, certain type of clothing, a specific physical appearance before we are secure in ourselves then we will not be fulfilled even if we get those things.
The last identity "I am" lie comes if I am liked which is the popularity based identity. This challenge is in Matthew 4:8 to 9. It reads "Again, the devil took him on an exceeding high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and he said to him all these things I will give to you if you will fall down and worship me". Basically saying "Jesus prove you're someone by how many people like you." Like Jesus all of us must believe we are significant even when it seems few if any do we must believe were significant. Even if many don't believe it and that's that's the whole truth becoming successful on the inside when we don't look successful on the outside.
So here's what's happening we're in a season there there's pressure in the world there's uncertainty at once to put pressure on our identity grey looks black right now for many people lies sound more real now than that and other times there's a spirit of fear that once you get on us and I want to just say tonight that thing is not going to get on you I'm praying for you we we bless you in the name of Jesus right now as you look at the ways that devil tempted Jesus there's great truth and I believe so many of you are going to get powerful choose out of it that nobody has ever seen before.