The other day as I was driving along, a car came up behind me quickly and started flashing its lights. Where I live this is common for people who expect you to pull aside so that they can continue speeding along at as incredible pace which is well above the speed limit. What they expect is for me to break the law, so that they can break the law. It often gets me fired up. At times I’ve tried to offset my anger with the thought that, at least I’ve saved, and this person is acting anything like being saved. But lately I’ve realised this is a complete misuse of my identity as a child of God.
Matthew’s gospel moves from Jesus’ baptism by John at the end of chapter 3 to Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. At Jesus’ baptism he gets affirmed as God’s special son, by John, by the Father through a voice in heaven and through the Holy Spirit, who comes and stays on Jesus.
The first temptation questions this identity. Satan asks, ‘If you are the Son of God’. Of course he is the son of God. He knows it. He has just had it affirmed.
However, the temptation is to misuse that identity. If you are the Son of God use that power to make yourself something to eat. In other words, misuse your identity to make your life easily. You should have an easy life! You are the son of God!
However, the implication for Jesus if he did misuse his identity was to fail in his life goal.
When I realised this it made we think about how am I tempted to misuse my identity? Perhaps it is when I think of others as less than me because they ‘are unsaved’? Or perhaps it is when I treat others as less than me because they ‘are unsaved’? Or perhaps it is when I take for granted my relationship with Jesus?