New Hope Notes

Keeping Your Identity in the Midst of Temptation
The Greatest Life Ever Lived

Pastor Aaron Cordeiro
January 22, 2012 - W1204

We’re in the middle of a great series titled “The Greatest Life Ever Lived” and today, we’re going to be talking about “keeping your identity in the midst of temptation.”

We all know that Jesus, our Lord, lived the greatest life that we can ever follow, and we want to look at how to handle ourselves when we walk through the deserts of temptation. We’re going to go through trials and tough times, we all know that, amen!

But, here’s the thing – we have to be able to keep our identity in the midst of temptation – so we’re going to talk about having an identity in Christ, an identity so powerful that it can keep us from straying no matter the temptation.

Trials and temptations, those are the times when we have the tendency to lose who we are –

because it’s tough. God has placed an assignment and a call on every single one of our lives and here’s what the assignment he’s placing on your life is going to look like.

It’s going to look like God.

Here’s the thing about trials – I’m reminded of a time on a trip with my dad [Pastor Wayne] to where we followed the missionary journey of the Apostle Paul.

We went to different places like Rome, Corinth, Athens and it was beautiful. We ended up at this one spot, in the Biblical times we know this as the place of Ephesus; however in modern times, it’s better known as Turkey, a large country that is a very arid place in many parts.


We were about to get off the cruise ship and I was excited to start exploring when suddenly this older gentleman next to me fainted. I don’t know if it was the motion of the ship or what happened, but he hit his head as he fell to the ground.

I got down on my knees to offer some help and immediately started praying. “Oh Lord, please heal this man, don’t let him die, please.”

The poor man started to go into convulsions, so I yelled for someone to help, and finally they did come and the emergency responders were able to help him – and he was fine – thank you, Lord!

But, you could imagine, I was quite distraught. I’m just like, wow, that was amazing, and I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life. In the meantime, I’m supposed to be a host to a whole busload of people and as we’re gathering people to get on the bus, I encounter a rude tour guide - right after I went through this traumatic experience.

We’re getting on the bus, and I’m counting the passengers one by one, couple by couple and this rude tour guide gives me a dirty look and says, “hey now, get to the back of the bus and sit down.”

I was like, “whoa, man, I’m the ‘counter guy,’ I have to be here.”

But he wouldn’t stop complaining, so I sat down, defeated, which is when my whole attitude began to change as the bus pulled off.

I was tired, distraught, angry, annoyed and upset and as we walked through one of these historic old towns, we encountered many other rude people.

They were very abrupt and rude and it all got to me, I wanted to just go off to one corner and be left alone! And I have to admit I don’t think I remember one bit of Turkey, but you know what’s interesting?

I had an assignment… I was the counter man, I was the one who was supposed to lead everyone, I was the one who was supposed to make sure everyone on the bus got to the right places, but I didn’t do any of that – and I didn’t care.

I was thinking about that while I prepared today’s message… and it’s true, we all do go through desert times in our lives, don’t we?

And, we have an assignment, and along the way it’s going to land us in the deserts, where we’re going to face some of our toughest trials.

At the same time, God is going to be chiseling away things that don’t belong there, and He’s going to start to shape us more and more in His image.

What He’s going to do is help us get to our identity – in His likeness – which He’s already laid out.

He’s going to show how powerful our identity is, so what I want to do now is look at some scripture, which happened after Jesus was baptized by John and took his faith public for the first time:
“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, He was hungry.” (Luke 4:1-2)

The Bible says God won’t lead us into temptation, but sometimes the Spirit will lead us into desert times, because it is there – and it’s where God can do some real work on our hearts.

Jesus overcame the temptation of the devil while in the desert for forty days and forty nights. With God’s power, he was led into the wilderness, but he came out with power.

Can you even imagine not eating for forty days? What a struggle that must have been.

Then the Bible says that the stories of Jesus, and who he was, began to abound and spread through the whole of Israel and the surrounding region. Jesus then began to teach in the synagogue and all praised him.


Now, we’re going to talk about how our identity in Christ is and how powerful that is and how the enemy will try and snatch away your God-given identity and how dangerous that is.

Notice how the devil was attacking Jesus’ identity at every step.

"God created man in His own image." (Gen. 1:27)

Here it is and everything will hang on this point of our message today. Understand that verse and let it sink in deep.

LIKENESS in God is our greatest ACHIEVEMENT.

It will change and transform our lives. Identity will be your most powerful tool of influence. Others’ identities will be their most powerful tool of influence on you. Identity is powerful.

Let me explain what identity is. Identity is likeness to the things we are and the things we cherish.

In the moral sense, our identity is those things that we hold sacred, things that we hold holy and things we are not willing to compromise or defile.

Just how powerful is identity? It’s a very powerful influence when we have this picture or image of Heaven that God has stamped upon us since the very beginning of time. It will compel you and take you through any trial that you ever experience.

See, the Bible says in Hebrews that Jesus experienced every sort of temptation that we can ever go through, yet he was without sin.

When we understand that we are His, no matter what, and that there is a special assignment for our life, we should feel compelled to do anything for the Lord and just say “Chisel away, Lord, chisel away.”

As a dad, I’m finding out more and more how true this is and how our identities can be the greatest tools of influence. It was just a week ago that I suffered ligament damage to my knee and coming home with a big knee brace, I walked through the door and my daughter asked what had happened to my knee.

She seemed so worried, but my wife stepped over to say, “Oh, honey, it’s been crazy, can you help with the kids, and the dishes are overflowing...”

I tried pulling out the sympathy card by telling them both my knee was really sore, but that didn’t go far, so I helped out, of course.

What’s interesting is later I asked my daughter to help clean her room, which is when she said “Oh, daddy, my knee is sore, my knee is sore.”

Our identities are powerful and influential. Who we are is going to be the greatest influence – and what our likeness is, is going to be a great influence. Parents are the greatest influence on their kids.

That’s why God has said that we are made in His likeness. It’s powerful.

My dad used to say, “You know, Aaron, you may be the only ‘Jesus’ that people may ever see. You may be the only ‘Bible’ they ever read. Your identity in Christ is the most eternal thing that you can choose to live every day.”

It's powerful stuff, folks.

And, that’s why God warns us through this passage here that if we get distracted, and dilute or lose our identity – this is when we will become most vulnerable to temptation.

Here’s the thing though – the devil knows this, and that’s why the same thing happened to Jesus. We see the devil coming after Jesus, attacking him and attempting to dilute His assignment.

The devil knew that Jesus had to come and die on the cross for our sins and for our broken spirits to be reconnected back to God the Father.

The devil knew that if he could tempt Jesus just to become a regular Joe, another sinner, then there would be no roadmap to hope – and eternity would be lost.


Let’s take a look at three temptations and read what the devil is really saying. Because when we go through these desert times we have to know exactly what’s going on. We have to know how to combat the temptations, what they sound like and how to overcome them.


The 1st Temptation
“And the tempter came and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.'" (Luke 4:3)
"But [Jesus] answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” (Matt. 4:4)

The first temptation was to...
1) Use what you have for YOURSELF!

Our Lord is so amazing. The Bible says that Jesus came to serve and not to be served. He always used His power to serve others, the Father, as well as you and me. Isn’t that neat?

However, the devil is always there trying to twist the things we have – like our authority our finances, our abilities, our looks. He’ll whisper “use it for yourself.”

Likewise, people in places of power can turn what they have and use it selfishly and it ends up destroying our legacy. So we may enter a new job and we get a position of authority, but we lose influence. We may attain fame or influence but we lose a depth of character.

We may gain a personal wealth or control, but there are no deep relationships after a while.

You see the devil is going to try and get us to use what God has given us – for ourselves. This could be anything, our time, even our pain (“my knee is sore, my knee is really sore…”)


The 2nd Temptation
The devil continued to tempt Jesus and he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

“And the devil said to Him, 'I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.'" (Luke 4:6-7).

Why did the devil say this? It’s because the devil knew that Jesus had to go to the cross to die for our sins and that the Lord was also the king of all kings. By tempting him, the devil wanted to control the Lord. The devil says …
2) I got the SHORT CUTS to your BEST life.
But the devil is wrong. He would say there is glory to all the earthly glitter and gold. Now, is it wrong to have nice stuff? No, but here it is, sometimes we can have a tendency to bring God down to a level where He’s at a fifty-fifty chance of being worshipped alongside all that glitters.

But Jesus is saying that God has our best life. He has your future in mind, but the devil would say “I got the shortcuts to your best life.”

Most everyone in life has similar goals: to be comfortable and have enough in life, but we need to be careful as the devil will declare he can get us there quicker by cutting a few corners.

“And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only,’” (Luke 4:8)

The 3rd Temptation
“And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge concerning You to guard You,’ and, ‘On their hands they will bear You up, lest You strike Your foot against a stone.’” (Luke 4:9-11)

“And Jesus answered and said to him, 'It is written, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Luke 4:12)
And after the devil tried everything he could, it is said that he left Jesus for a better time and place.

“And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit...” (Luke 4:14)

3) Exchange your FUTURE for what you feel you need NOW, and don’t be CONCERNED about the CONSEQUENCES.

The devil is going to try make us make permanent decisions based on temporary, passing feelings or emotions.

Jesus must have been famished after forty days in the desert, and the devil taking him up to the pinnacle of the temple was done as a means to appeal to the human side of Jesus.

In conclusion, our likeness in God is our greatest achievement. That’s why the Bible says to us, folks, we’re going to go through tough times, but seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness – and all the rest will be added to you.

I want to be like those who want their heart to be in God’s likeness. Lord, they are your Godly people.

So, when we want to be Godly, and we go through temptations and the deserts, God’s power and love will be there and you will overcome.

Seek first the Kingdom of God, seek first His righteousness when you’re tempted in the desert and God will be there.

And then we can stand and say the Creator is the greatest influence in our lives.

Lord I’m yours and everywhere we go, we take Jesus with us.

Remember, likeness in God is our greatest achievement.


· How have you worked to achieve a likeness in God?

· What earthly things have held you back?

· What is it that compels us?

How have we shown that we love Jesus that much?