“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV)
Immediately before Jesus spent forty days in the desert resisting relentless temptation by the adversary, he was baptised in the Jordan River. The last two verses of Matthew 3 recount the event: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’”
The very next verse (Matthew 4:1) says, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” The fact that these events are found back-to-back aren’t coincidental. Before Jesus kicks-off his public ministry with what must have been an agonizing forty days alone in the wilderness with Satan, God the Father audibly speaks to Jesus, reminding him that he is the Son of God, that he is loved, and that his father is “well pleased” with him.
Even for divine Jesus, it must have felt pretty amazing to hear those words spoken over him in public. You and I know the rest of the story. Jesus goes on to boldly launch his ministry, resist temptation, reveal his divinity, and save the world through his sacrifice on the cross.
So, what does this account have to do with how you and I respond to adversity and failure? Everything! Galatians 3:27 reminds us that “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Paul is pointing us back to Jesus’ baptism, saying that, through our faith in Jesus, we are symbolically joined up with Jesus in his baptism. Because of the work of Christ on the cross, we can hear the Father speaking the same words he spoke to Jesus to us: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Cling tightly to those words, not because you are at risk of losing them, but because they give you and me the same boldness Jesus exhibited when he stepped out of the Jordan River. Whatever failure you are experiencing, remember that you are a son or daughter of the King. You are loved. The King is well pleased with you. God’s words are true and unchanging. No amount of success or failure is going to change who he declares you to be. Let that give you the boldness to respond well to failure, to be transparent about your shortcomings for the sake of the gospel, and to be eternally hopeful because you are “clothed with Christ.”