The following is derived from chapter 2 of my new book, Discovering Your Destiny.
As we seek to walk in our destiny, pursuing our relationship with God is paramount. Our destiny will unfold out of the place of intimacy with Him. And learning to relate to God as our Father is a big part of this journey. So much is solved when we are able to receive His love for us and be secure as a son or daughter. Again, we look to the example of Jesus.
Before Jesus was released into His earthly ministry, a significant event took place. As John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River, Jesus also came to be baptized. John tried to stop Him, but Jesus insisted. Then, Matthew 3:16-17 records this:
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
When Jesus came up from the water, two momentous things happened. First, the Holy Spirit came upon Him to anoint and empower Him for ministry. And second, He received the blessing of His Father in heaven: “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” What is important to note is that God the Father declared His love and approval for His Son before He started His ministry. Before one sermon was preached, one sick person was healed, or one demon was cast out, Jesus received the Father’s blessing.
Jesus was not working for the Father’s love but from the Father’s love. There is a huge difference between the two. His ministry was not an effort to gain approval, but an outflow of His intimate relationship with the Father. He did not need to perform in order to be loved; He was perfectly loved already. Love was the foundation for what He did, not the thing He strived to gain.
The same should be true of us as we pursue to fulfill our destiny. The more secure we are in His love, the more we can walk in our calling with the right foundation. Without this security, we will always be striving for approval. Doing good works, discovering our calling, and exercising our gifts will all simply be forms of trying to gain acceptance and love. But if we are rooted in His love, we can approach these things from a healthy place.
Immediately after being baptized and receiving His Father’s blessing, Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by the devil. The first thing that the enemy attacked was His identity as a Son.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Satan said “If you are the Son of God…” The first thing he questioned was the most recent word that Jesus had heard from the Father: “This is My Beloved Son…” It was not just a temptation to break His fast; it was much deeper. It was a temptation to doubt God’s Word. It was a temptation to prove Himself by performing. It was an enticement to misuse His anointing and authority. Because Jesus was secure as a Son, He was able to resist the temptation. He was feeding on what the Father had just spoken over Him and so He did not need to prove Himself to anyone, including the devil.
Jesus knew that the reason He had been anointed by the Holy Spirit was for the sake of others (see Luke 4:18). He refused to take what was meant to minister to others and use it to feed Himself, even when He desperately needed the nourishment. We can learn a lot from this.
If we are not secure as sons and daughters, we will take the anointing and authority that God gives us to serve others and use it to feed ourselves instead. If we are not rooted and grounded in love (see Ephesians 3:17) we will pursue our destiny for selfish motivations and constantly seek to feed our own egos. Only as we are secure as sons and daughters can we walk in our gifts and calling in such a way as to fulfill their ultimate purpose to glorify God and benefit others.