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Wilderness Wisdom (1 of 4)

Mike Connell

In other words, Jesus gave the devil a whipping! How did He do it? Was it with the anointing? Think about that. He used the word of God, in His mouth, a sharp two-edged sword. You've got to have the word, can't just have experiences, got to be grounded in the word. Now you notice what the pressure - the pressure came on three areas. Now when we go back to the experience Jesus had, this is what God said to Him. He got the touch of the Holy Ghost on Him, got the anointing of the Holy Ghost on Him, then God spoke into Him these words: This is My beloved Son; or in other words, this is who You are, You are the Son of God. That's who You are. You're the Son of God, and not only that, I love You. I love You. You're precious to Me. That's what He got from heaven. That was a revelation. Now what does the devil say? Oh really, Son of God? If You're the Son of God, if You are who You say You are, You have to do something to establish it.

See, so who are you? Underneath all of that, who are you? Well if we ask the question, who are you, most people say something like this; I'm an accountant. No, no, I asked who are you? Er, this is my name. No, who are you? If you keep asking the question after a while, you find a lot of people say actually, I don't really know, I don't really know. So notice the devil tempts Him to put on a mask, or to establish His identity, who He is, in three different ways. The first one, you notice what he says. He says well change these stones into bread. The first one is the performance trap: I am what I do. Who are you? I'm an accountant or I'm a teacher, I'm a preacher. What if you're not preaching, who are you then? Oh I don't know. See preacher, that's what you do. You're not what you do. You are who you are. Who are you? Ooh, I don't really know. Well we need to find out who we are in Christ, or we'll define ourself by what we do. So the world pressures you, well what have you done with your life? Ooh oh, not very much. Conclusion: well you're not much of a person, you must be a failure.

That trap, traps many people; well you're not doing much, you can't be much then, can you? Can you, I mean really? I mean if you were something, you'd have done something with your life. Oh what a mess you've made of your life. Really what have you done? I haven't really done too much at all. Really you've wasted what you've done, you've failed, and here you are, this age, and what have you done? Notice it's attaching your identity to what you do, and when you attach identity to what you do, you'll become a driven man, and you can't stop doing what you do. You can't give up what you do. Why? Because your whole identity is attached to it, and someone talks about or criticises what you do, you will erupt and defend. Why? Because when they touch what you do, they touched who you are. Jesus rebuked it with the word of God.

The second thing is possessions: I am what I have. So he said: look at this, look at this. I'll give it all to you. You can have it all! You can have it all! Little wee catch, just got to bow down. It's not too much, you can have it all. Now notice what it is; identity there is attached to possessions. Well, what kind of car have you got? Oh, I see, an old Ford aye, oh okay. What car - ooh a BMW! Ooh, you must be something! Oh, an old heap, you must be nothing. Notice people do it? They attach value or identity to possessions: so what do you have? Oh, well I have a lovely two storey house out in Havelock North with a pool and two cars, and one of them is a Jag. Oooh you must be special! And who are you? Oh well I live out at Flaxmere, and I have a small house, and we don't have a car, we have bikes, we get around on bikes. Oh! [Laughter] You got the idea? We had our season as pastors. We had no car, and we had bikes for the whole family - you, a Pastor? You don't seem to have much. No, we don't really, but we have one another, and we love God. It doesn't really matter does it? [Applause]

So we had to go through that wilderness, didn't have a thing. I wonder how we're going to get by - but you know what? We found God in it, and it didn't matter. You can have it, and give it away, so I have no attachment really to things now. Have them, we give them away, just like that, give them away. The reason is because I'm not defined by what I have, I'm not defined by what I do. When I was leading a movement of churches, and they said they couldn't get over why I'd resign off that and let it go. They could not understand it. I said: well I'm not what I do. God called me to do that, now He's said: let it go, so I've let it go, it's no big deal. But for others it was a big deal, because the position was very important. Are you defined by your position, title and what you do, or what you have, you know, your possessions and lovely body ra-ra-ra? What if it gets old and saggy, oh! [Laughter] You don't have much do you. Unfortunately that's the route we're all going to take, you know? [Laughter] We need all the help we can get to make it look good. [Laughs] But we're not defined by what we have!