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God often meets His people in the desert. It is a place where they learn to depend upon Him and upon one another. It is where He prepares them for the purpose He has for them. It is where God can speak to them into the stillness of the desert.

But God is not the only one we encounter in the desert. There is an Enemy lurking. He tries to lure and tempt us and, weak as we are, he often triumphs.

Jesus confronted this enemy while He was in the desert.

Jesus went forty days without food there and, in the greatest understatement in the Bible, it says He “became very hungry” (Matthew 4:2, NLT).

In this moment of vulnerability, the Enemy confronted Jesus.

Satan – which in Hebrew means “the accuser” – tempts Jesus three times. Each angle the Enemy takes is worth study in its own right, but perhaps the most telling line in the account is Satan’s prelude to his temptations.

If you are the Son of God…”

Just prior to Satan’s temptations, Jesus had been baptized by a man named John. As Jesus came out of the water, a voice boomed from heaven. “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Matthew 3:17, NLT).

God had just publicly declared Jesus was His Son. Yet Satan calls into question Jesus’ identity.

If you are the Son of God.

Here’s the thing. If you are a Christian, God has also made a declaration about your identity.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! (1 John 3:1, NLT)

You are a part of God’s family.

But the Enemy will try to convince you otherwise.

He’ll come to you in the desert and whisper in your ear. He’ll call into question God’s love and care for you. He’ll come with accusation about how imperfect a child you are. He’ll plant the seeds of entitlement and distrust and bitterness and despair and anything else he can come up with to damage your relationship with God your Father.

He’ll even try to convince you that if you were really a child of God then you wouldn’t be in a desert in the first place.

The Enemy comes to us in the desert because we are vulnerable in the desert.

In our vulnerable state, we have two options.

We can be deceived by the Enemy or we can be dependent upon our Father.

Make no mistake. We’ll do one or the other.

If we are not dependent on God, we will be deceived by the Enemy.

When the Enemy begins to whisper, don’t listen. He’s a liar. Listen instead to the voice of the Father.

When the Enemy hurls temptations, ignore him and run to the Father for wisdom and strength.

When the Enemy calls into question your identity, remember who the Father says you are.

The Enemy is near, but the Father is nearer.

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