As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17
The affirmation we receive from parents, especially, from our fathers, builds up our identity, giving us strength to fulfill the purpose that our Heavenly Father has for us. Affirming identity in a son or daughter is so important that God our Father did not miss out on declaring Jesus’ identity and delight during the Jordan River baptism. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
It was necessary for Jesus to hear His Father’s words before going to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. I have no doubt that His Father’s affirmation was a source of strength to Him as satan taunted our Messiah with the words: “If you are the Son of God…”
Dealing with Accusation
Many times in life, we will have arrows thrown at us with the purpose of destroying our identity. We will hear other people declaring our weaknesses and twisting who we are—sometimes to our faces. We may even agree with these accusations and find ourselves wallowing in shame. Accusations like, “I thought you were a Christian! Why are you still so _____?” are nasty darts! Whether there are morsels of truth in the accusations or not, what is important is what our Heavenly Father says about us. After all, He created us and knows us through and through.
If we find ourselves agreeing with accusations or hurtful words from others (and even from ourselves!), one beautiful thing about the Cross is that Jesus paid for our sins—allowing us a new identity. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17). As His new creation, we are not anymore bound to an identity of sin. We throw that off and say, “Stop! I have a new identity in Christ! I may have made a mistake, but I am one of my Heavenly Father’s children and therefore a new creation!”
“Father, What Do You Say?”
I have found that often, an accusation will indeed come with a morsel of truth in it, but whenever I go to the Father to ask Him about what He thinks about me after a blunder I make, I always find Him pointing back to His love for me and His identity for me. He reminds me that my identity is not shackled to my mistakes or sins. Yes, I am not my sin.
The Bible commands us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (See Hebrews 12:1-3). If the accusations of others or of ourselves hinders us from pursuing the destiny that God has for us, let’s throw that yoke off and keep our eyes toward TRUTH, toward Jesus. If we keep our eyes toward our mistakes and sins all the time, we’ll be running around in circles! Remember that in Jesus, there is freedom! John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” We are no longer slaves to sin, but beloved sons and daughters of the Kingdom of God!
Jesus, Our Perfecter
Truly, Jesus is the only One capable of walking sinless on this earth. Knowing this truth allows us to rest in the fact that Jesus is the PERFECTER of our Faith. Whatever holes or shortcomings or sinful habits we have in our walk is something that we can commit to Him and walk away from. He hears us when we confess our sins, and He’s faithful to do what He says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). He will work in us, transforming us into His image and likeness. We are His and He delights in us!
It’s time we stop agreeing with the Accuser of the Brethren (satan) and listen to what our Heavenly Father says to us about us. Even now, let’s hear Him speak and embrace His identity for us: “This is my beloved son/daughter, in whom I am well pleased.”
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.