You are my son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.

Wading in water with anticipation, Jesus steps out in faith that He is the Messiah. Soaked in the waters of the Jordan river, Father and Spirit decide to affirm Jesus’s action in voice and as a dove.

This is such a beautiful picture. Not only for us, today, but especially for Jesus.

YOU are MY SON, whom I LOVE, with YOU I am WELL PLEASED.” This declaration emphasises intimacy, personalisation, and absolute love. Jesus’s identity affirmed!

Now, imagine with me…

A Saviour King has come to proclaim, embody, and transplant the good news of His kingdom to everyone and for everyone.

Maybe there is doubt in the air. A question as to whether He is actually the Messiah.

But all doubt dissipates, however, as Father and Spirit turn up, supernaturally.

So, what’s the first thing that Jesus does when this happens? Assert His authority? Plant a church? Preach? Demonstrate signs and wonders? Aim to be the most successful prophet and teacher?

No. Jesus listens to the Spirit’s leading (Matthew 4:1, Mark 1:12, Luke 4:1). And aligning Himself to the Israelites of old, Jesus becomes the New Israel.

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

Deuteronomy 8: 2

Mirroring the Israelites’ 40 years in the wilderness, Jesus prioritises the integrity of His heart. Alone, over the course of 40 days, His heart is tested. For only then can He know what’s inside.

Then, during Jesus’s most vulnerable moment, the enemy swoops in to target the identity that God had already affirmed.

“If you are the Son…”

Today, I believe that the enemy’s primary strategy for attacking our hearts is still the same.

“If you are God’s child…”

If he effectively dismantles the truth that God has created you in His image through his deception – if he can call into question that you are really God’s child – then the accuser is able to plant doubt in your heart.

Jesus understood the capacity of the heart. So, He uses His 40 days in the wilderness to show us how we, too, can keep our hearts aligned to God’s kingdom… and remain convinced of the identity we have in God.

So, at the beginning of a new year, wherever you think you are on your journey, let us prioritise our hearts.

Let us reflect on whose voice our heart is listening to. Let us test the way we love and whether it’s aligned with God’s heart. Let us observe how we spend our time, money, and imagination, and assess where our treasure is.

Let us realign our hearts. Because your heart matters.