There are basically two kinds of dads. The red-light dad says no most of the time; has many rules; is controlling, domineering and demanding; and as a result, is not very relational or fun. The green-light dad says yes most of the time; has only a few rules; is very freeing, encouraging and helpful; and as a result, is very relational and a lot of fun.
The God of the Bible is a green-light dad and not a red-light dad. He told Adam and Eve that all of creation was a green light and that "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat" (Gen. 2:16b).
Did you catch that? Everything was a green light (yes) with only one red light (no): "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die" (Gen. 2:17).
Our Father said yes to everything but one thing and told us He forbade that action because it would hurt us.
It is vital that you understand the identity of God as a loving, relational, helpful, safe, wise, green-light dad. Satan attacked the identity of God. He sought to present God as a red-light dad who withheld good from His kids:
"Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You surely will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil'" (Gen. 3:4-5).
As a Christian you must base your identity upon two things: 1) who God really is and 2) who God says you really are. If you have a wrong view of God and/or who you are in relation to God, then everything in your life spins out of control, as it did for Adam and Eve.
Did you notice the satanic strategy? Satan wanted them to achieve an identity by rebelling and living apart from God so that "you will be like God." Do you remember what God said about their identity? Just prior, God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26b).
God made us in His "likeness," and all we need to do is receive this identity. When Satan tempted our first parents to become "like God," he was lying; they were already made in God's likeness, and all they needed to do was trust that fact by faith.
Satan tried this same trick on Jesus. In Luke 4:1-13 we read that Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness "being tempted by the devil." Then "the devil said to him, 'If you are the Son of God ... '" (v. 3a, emphasis added). Did you see the trick? Satan was attacking Jesus' identity as the Son of God. Once again, Satan was tempting Jesus not to live from the identity He received from the Father. Just prior, at Jesus' baptism, God the Father said, "You are My beloved Son. In You I am well pleased" (Luke 3:22b).
Before Jesus preached a sermon, performed a miracle or cast out a demon, the Father was "well pleased" with Him. The same is true of you. You are a child of God, and that identity is secure.
When Satan accuses you in order to attack your identity, you need to remember the following:
—Your identity is received from God, not achieved by you.
—Your identity is something you work from, not something you work for.
—Your identity comes from a relationship with God, not from living independently from God.
—You aren't defined by what has been done to you or by you, but rather by what Jesus has done for you.
—What you do doesn't determine who you are; who you are in Christ should determine what you do.
Don't let Satan lie to you about your identity or about your loving, green-light heavenly dad.
Mark Driscoll has been preaching through books of the Bible as a senior pastor and husband of Grace for more than two decades. He has authored over a dozen books, including Spirit-Filled Jesus and Who Do You Think You Are? Pastor Mark has a bachelor's in speech and a master's in exegetical theology, and he is one of the most respected and downloaded Bible teachers of his generation.
Grace Driscoll has been in ministry her entire life as a pastor's daughter and then a pastor's wife. She is the mother of five children, all walking with Jesus and serving at The Trinity Church, which they planted as a family ministry. She coauthored Real Marriage and oversees the Flourish women's ministry. Her public relations degree was put to use when she joined Mark talking about Jesus on The View, Fox and Friends and Loveline.
This article was adapted from Win Your War: Fight in the Realm You Don't See For Freedom in the One You Do (October 2019) by Mark and Grace Driscoll.
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