Tuesday, January 20. Genesis 1:26-27
The main text for this week is Matthew 4:1-17. Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness. He begins each temptation with the phrase, “If you are the Son of God…” Do you see what he’s doing? Satan is trying to get Jesus to doubt his own identity. Then, if Jesus doubts who he is, he will be tempted to have to prove it by flexing his God muscles.
That happens to us all the time. We were discussing this in our high school group on Sunday and one of the students said it was like Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movies. His downfall was when someone would challenge him and say, “Are you chicken?” Marty believed he was weak, and desperately wanted to be strong, so he would do something stupid to prove himself. It always ended up badly.
The key to withstanding temptation is to be grounded in who you are. That’s why we were asked to read Genesis 1:26-27. We were created in the image of God.
There are two really important things to keep in mind about God’s image that will help us stay grounded:
First, God gave us responsibility (that’s what dominion means) for the planet and all the life in it. We are God’s hands and feet to physically tend for all things. Satan tried to convince Jesus that Satan controlled all the kingdoms and that Jesus had to worship him to get them. That’s a lie. Everything is God’s, and God has given everything to us to be stewards of it. You can’t have a more important position than that, and you have it.
Second, we need each other. Notice how the image of God is male and female. That means (1) God is not a man or a woman, but is a community of relationships: The Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer (we call that the Trinity); (2) men and women are equal and equally important in God’s eyes. One is not dominant over the other. It is the loving relationship and dependence upon each other that is the image of God.
Unfortunately, humanity has spent most of its existence believing the lie that we are not good, not God’s children, and that one of us is more important and dominant over the other. That’s why there is violence, war, poverty, sickness, and suffering.
Jesus came to set us free from these lies and to restore us to our true identity. You are a child of God. You don’t need to prove anything to anybody. God loves you, and because of that, you are free to love everyone and everything else.
Know who you are today.