Consider these statistics:
-The Federal Trade Commission estimates that upwards of 9.9million people have their identity stolen every year.
-Every 60 seconds, 19 new people have their identities stolen.
-Almost 18 million people had their identities stolen in 2015, which was a high. They expect to beat that number for 2016.
-Upwards of 13.1 billion dollars in loss occurred as a result of identity theft in the US alone.
I’m sure that all of us can think of friends, family, or associates who have had their identities stolen. My wife and I are no exceptions. We both have had to deal with the fall- out of identity theft, and it is horrible. Statistics show that it costs the average person almost $500 and 30 hours to sort through everything and get things repaired. The material implications of identity theft are far-reaching, and can cause really hard consequences in this physical world.
How much more in the spiritual world?
What if I told you that the average Christian has no idea who they really are? What if I told you that many Christians don’t even know that the God explicitly defines us repeatedly in the Bible, and that His word is the only mirror that can be trusted to show us our reflection? What if I told you that our lives would look markedly different if we truly knew our identity and standing in Christ?
And that possibility makes Satan shake. In my last post, I talked about how often our reality fails to match up with our theology, or our beliefs about Christ. A big part in how we relate to Christ begins in how we see ourselves in Him.
Satan stole our identity in Christ when Adam and Eve were coaxed into disobeying God. When sin entered the world, it was the original hacker. It altered our identities physically, but especially spiritually, where many of us don’t pay attention.
And as sin stole our identity, Christ came and stole it right back. By introducing grace into the mix, Christ ensured that we would no longer be subject to the effects of sin internally, by becoming sin for us on the cross. His death sealed our fates, if we accept his sacrifice by grace through faith in Him. But not only did Christ seal us unto the day of His return, he also sent Paul to the Gentiles (us) to give us divine instruction about who we were and are, knowing that this power would enable us to resist Satan, and walk in truth, love, and peace.
Paul spent his life writing the doctrine that effectively reversed the effects of identity theft in our lives, should we choose to accept what God spoke through Him. For example, in Ephesians 1:3-14:
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b]predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (emphasis mine)
In this scripture alone, we have:
- We are blessed.
- We are chosen.
- We are holy and blameless
- We are predestined
- We are redeemed
- We know the mystery of His will- GRACE
- We are marked by Him.
- We have an inheritance- therefore we are heirs!
- We are God’s possession- to the praise of His glory (meaning, God is GLAD about it!)
Anywhere in that passage do you see God calling us sinners? Do you see God saying that He is mad at us? No! If we operate from an belief system that doesn’t line up with the word of God, then our identities have been stolen, and we will approach God from an avanue of disbleief, which does not please Him. When we know the word of God, and can rightly divide what God is saying to us, versus the Jewish people, then we begin to take line up with the true identities that we have in Christ.
That changes things! We approach God differently. We pray differently. We worship differently. We praise differently. We give differently. it is no longer out of obligation, or any kind of religious honorarium, but rather from a thankful heart stemming from a heart unlocked to the fullness of God. The verses above are but 1% of total picture, but I can promise you that if you ask God to open your eyes, and you are willing to open your heart, the truth of your identity will be poured out to you.
The wisdom of who we are in Christ is precious, and we must all devote time to prayer and reading of the word of God, and allow the Spirit of God to work within us. The problem is that we allow the Bible to be dictated to us, never taking the time to read it for ourselves and see what God says to us. I don’t know a single Pastor alive who would be offended if you went back and read the verses from his/her Sunday morning text and told him/her what you got out of it, even if it was different from what he/she preached. This is our responsibility! We must be students of the word!
The other part of this is simple. The way we see ourselves determines what we get out of life. What we put faith in will come to pass in our lives.
It is time for us to accept that Christ has taken back what Satan stole. Our identities are secure.
We are no longer victims of a terrible crime.
We are recipients of an overwhelming victory!
Live like it.
Be blessed today!