You Are [Not] What You Do

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Matthew 4:3 (NLT) “ …the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

Biblical scholars of all backgrounds have studied out the devil’s temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4. Henri Nouwen, a catholic priest who ended his career caring for those who were unable to care for themselves, has one of the more memorable commentaries on this event.

Nouwen noted that the devil’s temptations of Jesus went to the heart of the three greatest temptations we experience in life as well.

Temptation #1: You are what you do.

The devil prodded Jesus to “tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” It was another way of saying, “What you do is important. It’s what proves to others who you really are.”

Jesus, of course, didn’t fall for this temptation. Unfortunately, we sometimes do give-in to this temptation. We falsely believe the lie that what we do is what defines us. But God already identifies us as His children. That’s an identity we can rest in.


     MATTHEW 4:1-11

QUESTION: What are some ways in which you’ve been tempted to believe that your identity (your worth and value) comes from what you do? Be specific.

Take a Step: This week, continue to utilize the One Minute Pause app at least twice daily to begin practicing being with God and resting in His presence. The app is free, and is available on iPhone and Android devices. See for details.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I confess that far too often I believe the lie that I am what I do. I believe that if I am just good enough of a spouse, parent, child, sibling, worker, or friend, then this will earn me favor with you and others. I’m beginning to recognize that believing this lie leads me down a path of self-centeredness and pride, which is a path away from what You desire for me. Help me to see all the areas in my life in which I may be believing this lie, and help me to instead trust in You and the work Jesus already accomplished. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

(End with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: