Day Thirteen: Identity

Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

During Jesus’ forty days in the desert, there would have been many subtle temptations He permitted Himself to endure. But at the end of the forty days, the devil approached our Lord in a final attempt to overcome Him. The first temptation begins with a subtle questioning of Jesus’ sacred identity as the Son of God. The devil says to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…” By beginning with the statement, “If you are…,” the devil essentially calls into question Jesus’ divine identity. This was an attempt to rouse up pride in Jesus, the very sin that resulted in the devil being cast out of Heaven.

Though Jesus did not allow this questioning of His sacred identity to affect Him, this is a temptation that we all face and too often fail to conquer. Too often we fail to be confident in who we are. When someone questions, doubts, disagrees with, ridicules, belittles, or challenges our core identity in any way, we are tempted to pride through self-justification, anger, or even despair. However, if we know who we are, if we see ourselves only as God sees us, then we will never allow others’ false opinions or judgment to affect us.

Who are you? You are a son or daughter of God. You have been adopted by the Father into the new family of grace and truth. True, you are also a sinner—but a sinner who has been forgiven as many times as you have repented of your sins and turned back to God. There is great freedom found in knowing your identity.

Challenges to our dignity and identity often come in in the form of temptations, such as, “You are worthless…You can’t do anything right…No one likes you…You will never conquer your sin…God is so disappointed with you,” etc. When tempted by these lies, we can give into despair and self-doubt, questioning who we are and God’s perfect love for us. Despair and self-doubt are subtle forms of pride. Humility is the key to authentic self-knowledge and an embrace of our identity as a child of God. Humility is nothing other than a profound knowledge of who you are in the light of truth. Jesus knew Who He was and did not allow the evil one to stir up any doubt. We must strive to do the same.

Ponder the mind of Jesus as He endured having satan question His identity. Jesus never forgot Who He was. The same must be our goal. You are God’s precious and beloved child. You are endowed with grace and mercy. You are in dire need of God’s mercy. You are forgiven every time you sincerely repent. God loves you and no lie of the evil one will ever change that. Seek the virtue of humility today, for humility is the virtue by which we pierce through the many lies about ourselves and see ourselves as we are, as God sees us. Our Lord’s humility was perfect; let us seek to more fully imitate Him.

My humble Lord, You knew Your identity, and You never allowed the subtle lies of the evil one to affect You. Please help me to remember who I am as Your child. May I only see myself as You see me and love myself as You love me. Free me from all lies, self-pity, doubt, and despair. Jesus, I trust in You.

See also: Day Thirteen: 40 Days at the Foot of the Cross

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