In the lonely, hungry places of the soul he shows up. He promises satisfaction, applause, fulfillment. And we need remember that it was the wilderness where he planned his attack and sharpened his weapons and gave it all he had. In that needy place he drew near the Holy One in His hunger and twice he asked it, subtly, cunningly: “IF You are the Son of God…”
It was identity he was after then and it’s identity that he’s after now. Satan want us to doubt or be confused about our identity.
We all have needy places of the heart with longings to be accepted, loved, worthy, to live for a noble purpose. These things shape our identity and they are God-given desires that are not wrong… but they can be met in many, many wrong ways. Satan unsuccessfully tempted Christ to get his needs met apart from His loving Father; he is much more successful with us.
Jan Greenwood, in chapter two of her book Women at War, writes this:
Today’s media is one of the most challenging and pervasive methods of war
being used in the assault on women. Television programs, movies and music
shape our perceptions of what is normal, what is acceptable and what should be
sought after. What we see and hear inﬂuences us, whether or not we are aware
of its impact.
Propaganda is one of the most deceptive and proliﬁc weapons of war.
And I would add to that, social media can be deadly. So many women of all ages are trying to find their identity online. In mass, we are turning on to get those inner needs met. And social media is happy to tell us what we ought to be, buy, and become. While I love blogging and connecting online, I have to be very, very careful as to what content I am taking in and what messages I am letting it convey. It is so easy to get caught up in the messages and swept away into an identity crisis and not even know it!
Where we gain our sense of identity is vital. It affects so many layers of our lives, including our service and ministry. One day I was reading the gospel of John where Jesus washes the disciples feet. This is what it says,
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God, got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.” John 13:3-5
What prompted Jesus’s tender service in His final hours was a sense of identity and purpose. He knew who He was, what He had been given, and where He was going. As a missionary, that motivates me to ask if I am serving out of a sense of godly identity. If not, my service will always fall flat and short. Am I being intentional about renewing my mind? Vigilant in what I am taking in?
Is my identity like John the Baptist’s… grounded in the Word spoken of me?
Is my identity like Paul’s, independent of other’s approval?
I love chapter 2 in Jan’s book because she talks about identity and labels and contrasts it with how God names us. He takes the time to give each and every one of us a name and thus, an identity! Finding out who God says we are is a wonderful, freeing adventure.
Now it’s your turn to talk! Jan has invited us to discuss a couple of the questions she’s included at the back of the chapter. What we’d love to hear from you is:
• In what ways have you allowed our culture to shape your opinions of women? What about your opinions of yourself?
• What labels have you allowed the enemy to apply to you? What have you believed about yourself as a woman? Ask God to reveal those things.
Have you seen this week’s brand new eBook bundle? I’m super-excited to have my book included!