Happiness and the Temptation of Jesus

The Temptation of Jesus teaches us to accept what God's Words say about us and not let ourselves be defined by external happenings and people. We are beloved child of God and need not seek happiness outside. We dare to explore and compare with others, to discover, to learn and to help, making it a better place for all. But that must begin with our acceptance by God inwardly and then we express outwardly. Happiness that depends on external is very unstable.

The Crux is "What defines your identity and worth?"
There are many useful lessons for life in the temptation of Jesus. See The Temptations of Jesus for some of the details. This crux of the matter is where is the source of your faith. To put it in another way, who or what define who you are.

The Devil Wants You To Rely on External Happenings
The Devil want you to use the external events to define who you are. He wanted Jesus to change the stone to bread, to jump from a height to prove that Jesus was the Son of God. A unenlightened mind will say, what's is wrong with that, just do it and we shall know.

Jesus Wants You to Trust and Accept What God Says about You.
Jesus, instead, wants us to know who we are by the Word of God. We are what God say we are. There is no need to prove from external events. Once we have faith in God's Word, the evidence will come naturally. The importance is the sequence of thing. God's Word first or the people, devil or external happenings. Jesus knows that He is the Son of God. There is no need to change the stone into bread and then realize that He is indeed the Son of God. He is the Son before the miracle. There is no need for Jesus to prove His identity or worth. He is fully established in the Word of God. Jesus in fact, did much greater work that just changing a stone into bread. With two fish and five loafs of bread, He fed five thousands men. On another occasion, He fed four thousands men with some fish and bread. When the need arises, Jesus shows the people that He is Son of God. He is the Son first and then the miracle come. In term of protection, He calmed the storm and He just walk away when people tried to stone Him (Luke 4:30). In terms of glory, He healed the sicks and raise the dead. He died on the cross that the whole world can be saved. He was resurrected and conquered the devils and death. He is seated at the right hand of God above everything. He is the King of Knigs and Lord of Lords. There is no name higher than Jesus whether in Heaven or Earth (See Ephesian 1).

In a Godless Worldview You Get Your ID from External Happenings as the Devil's Wish.
If your world view does allow the existence of God, then what are the possible sources available to you to define what and who you are? You have to follow what the Devil wanted .... be defined by external happenings.

Sociology 101 tells us, "I am what I think you say I am"! We get our identity and our worth from what others say about us. It is therefore not unusual that we become people pleasers. We buy into the 'Performance Trap'.  We must perform to earn acceptance. If performance is a requirement, then there is the possibility of failure. Hence, we fear that we could not do a good enough job to be accepted. We will try to cover-up and if not successful, we do the blaming act.

"Happiness is Don't Compare with Others" - Said the World without God
Because our worth is defined by external things, our well being comes from what happens to us. Our well being is therefore very unstable.

If you read books on happiness, one of key tip is "don't compare yourself with others".   When you compare yourself with others, you will tend to compare with those doing than you. You look at external things of more wealth, bigger cars, bigger house, better clubs etc. What make us more frustrated is when we see those less capable than us doing better than us. Some are born with silver spoons. Some are born prettier and so forth. The Chinese has a popular saying, "人比人气死人", "Comparing one another will make one so angry to cause one death". Comparison makes us angry or jealous. So the advise is not to compare.

In Christian Worldview - Your ID and Worth Secured & You have Joy within
However, if you have the Christian Worldview, then you have a God that loves you. You have Jesus who dies for you and give you the right to become a child of God. You identity is God's child. Your worth is the love of God and the price of God's only Son. You are eternally secured. No one can take away your identity and the love of God for you. You don't have to depend on external events to make you happy. You are already happy because you are loved and accepted.

We Compare to Discover, Learn and Help others
We are freed to compare with others. We are grateful and happy for those who are better than us. We can learn from them. We can discover the strengths of others. We are not jealous of them because we are uniquely created and loved by God. We may also find that there are people not doing as well as us. For them, we can help them.

Conclusions - Be Secured Internally and You are Eternally at Peace
If you are ever tempted to get your worth and happiness from external things and people, please remember the temptation of Jesus.  Place your faith on His Words and not on the eternal events and people.

Lim Liat (C) 3 Sep 2012

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