As Jesus rose out of the water after being baptized by John, heaven was opened, the Spirit of God descended on Him like a dove, and the sweet words from our Father fell upon him,
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).
Jesus was working as a carpenter for 30 years at this point; he didn’t heal anyone, raise people from the dead, or perform miracles during that time. After Jesus was baptized, he was led into the wilderness and the devil said to Jesus,
“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (Matt 4:3).
Satan is tempting Jesus to perform. What contributions had he made to the world? What did he have to show for 30 years? Do something. Prove yourself. Our culture tends to do the same thing. It asks, “What have you done? What have you achieved? What do you do?”
For many of us, we say we are successful when we excel in work, school, family, church, and relationships. And when we don’t succeed in those areas, we beat ourselves up, telling ourselves to work harder, to be better, or blame someone else for the situation - never fully accepting the fact we are not perfect.
Recently, I was in a class and didn’t receive the grade I hoped for. I was devastated, I worked so hard, and it felt like I had failed. I was quickly reminded that our worth and value are not found in what we do. If we seek our worth in earthly success, we miss the extravagant, inexhaustible free love and grace of God. You are not defined by what you do; you are defined by what God has done for you, and what God has called you. There is no striving in His love.
From one human to the next,