That’s why God gave him those beautiful words after his baptism, to remind him of who he really was. Before Jesus had performed one miracle, or healed one disease, he was told by God that he was Beloved. It was not something he had to achieve, it was not something he had to prove, it was a truth he was given to live out of. How incredibly kind of the Father it was to remind him of the truth, because in the wilderness Jesus would encounter all kinds of lies. The core lie being: “You are really not the Son of God.”
Why should we expect that our greatest temptation in the spiritual life—and the biggest lie we tend to believe—would be any different? I don’t know about you, but my doubts about the fact that I am worth be loved, and my desperate need to prove myself (and my value), infect everything I do. And when I live out of that dark place I am not able to be the fearful and wonderful creation that God made me to be. In fact, I become the very worst version of myself: possessive, controlling, competitive, demanding, defensive, aggressive, insecure.
That’s why I am so grateful that Jesus comes to each of us and says, “Do not give in to this desperate need to try and prove yourself. You have nothing to prove! Your identity and your value have already been determined long, long ago. They have been bestowed upon you. Nothing you can do can change that. Live in that truth and in that freedom, because if you don’t it will keep you from being the loving, grateful, humble man I created you to be.”