Our personal identity is an important part of our process of becoming a disciple. All of us need to look at how we identify ourselves and those we are discipling to discern what is influencing and at the core of our/their identity.

Luke 4:1-13 contains the story of Luke’s temptation by Satan in the Desert.  The temptations Jesus faced in the desert were the same that Adam and Israel faced, and that we face as well.  Any discipleship process you are in or you lead people through that does not lead people into the desert to look at their identity and deal with core temptations in their life is missing a huge part.

Luke 4:1-13, Satan questions Jesus’ identity

4:3-4 First temptation: Appetite. Filling our needs and satisfaction, Satan tells Jesus to turn the stone into bread. This is the temptation to become your own provider, meet your own needs. We are tempted to become our one provider, but what we provide ourselves is so lacking compared to what God can provide. You can struggle on both sides of this temptation.  Becoming my own provider leads can lead to selfishness and greed or it can lead to neglecting your self.  Gluttony or anorexia.  The temptation of appetite produces a consumer identity motivated by fear that says, “I will never have enough.”

4:5-8 Second temptation: Ambition:  To have the kingdom without the cross.  The temptation to get to a justified end by any mean possible.   The two sides and symptoms of Ambition are Workaholism-laziness.  The drive to “I must win” or resignation and  “I don’t care.” The temptation of ambition creates unhealthy competition with guilt at its source that “I will never accomplish enough.” 

4:9-12 Third temptation: Approval: Acceptance and rejection,  For Jesus to become the messiah that everyone wants you to be, instead of the misunderstood savior God has created you to be.  The two sides and symptoms of Approval are a person who needs constant approval or a person who needs no one. The temptation of approval creates a “celebrity” identity motivated by shame that “I will never be enough”

Psalm 106:13 reflecting on Israel’s time in the desert states,

“They quickly forgot what he had done;

they did not wait for his instructions.

In the wilderness they had an insatiable craving for meat;

they challenged God in the desert.”


You need to deal with the core issues of temptation in your life. 

You need to understand what Jesus defeats in the desert personally, he defeats permanently at the cross.  He becomes the temptations and takes them through the cross. The temptations Jesus defeats permanently allows me to defeat them. The same power that raised Christ from the dead now lives in me.

Read Luke 4:1-13.  Then I spend time allowing the Holy Spirit to be your “mirror” and reveal your identity.  We all have one of these temptations we struggle with more than the other. What is the main temptation to your identity?

Appetite: I will never have enough, motivated by fear.

Ambition: I will never accomplish enough, motivated by guilt.

Approval: I will never be enough, motivated by shame

How do you think that temptation may be presenting itself in your life?

Please post your reflections, questions, or prayer requests over identity in the comments box below.