3The devil said to Jesus, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’

4Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.” ’

The problem in the wilderness is that it is easy to doubt my identity.

The devil starts with Jesus, “If you are the Son of God.”

The first challenge for Jesus is to remember the voice he has just heard.

And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son.’ (Luke 3:22b)

It is so easy to forget my true identity. It is so tempting to think I can “live by bread alone”.

Surely, even out in this painful wilderness, there must be some tangible material thing that can satisfy my hunger and shore up my sense of identity. Surely I can find bread in the wilderness so I will not have to keep confronting this gaping sense of loss and longing.

I am too sophisticated to fall prey to the seductive illusion that money or power can fulfill my deepest longing. But, perhaps if the world would rally around and tell me how well I have done, what a fine person I have been, perhaps then the wilderness would blossom and I might truly experience myself as “beloved”.

But, I know there is no human force on earth that can give to me an abiding sense of my truly beloved nature. The voice that tells me my true identity does not speak in things, people, or accomplishments. Only “a voice…from heaven” (that is from beyond this material, time-bound, tangible, sensory realm) has the power to make me aware of my truly beloved nature.

This is why the peace that accompanies the “voice… from heaven” is a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7)

I can only hear this “voice…from heaven” that brings peace when I become attentive to the deep inner secret place of my heart where truth speaks and is heard. The wilderness, where I am forcibly removed from the many things through which I seek to establish a sense of identity, is the ideal place to learn to hear the “voice… from heaven”, that tells me of my truly beloved nature.