Preventing Identity Theft


Identity is everything. As earthly citizens, a well-rooted identity helps us establish our households and gain entry to distant lands. It enables us to buy and sell in the marketplace. It allows us to trace our genealogies and establish our legacies. And if our identities are forfeited or stolen, we lose access to just about everything this world has to offer.

And so it goes in the heavenlies.  A well-rooted spiritual identity establishes our heavenly households. It gives us access to all heaven’s riches and secures our spiritual legacies. But unlike their earthly counterparts, our spiritual identities are not established through performance or behavior. They are solely dependent on the finished work of Christ on our behalf.

Without stirring the debate over whether it is possible for a believer to lose or forfeit his spiritual identity, suffice it to say that we have an eternal adversary who is hell-bent on stealing or corrupting it. And he certainly has a great track record in keeping would-be citizens from the heavenly city their Creator has lovingly and painstakingly prepared for them.

Victims of this diabolical identity theft see themselves as disqualified from the grace and goodness God freely extends. In her song “Gloria,” 1970’s rocker Patti Smith penned her most tragic, soul-distressed lyric: “Christ died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” Wounded by personal adversity and disillusioned by the injustices of the world, these lost ones become easy prey to the deceiver as he whispers his choicest lies: Either God doesn’t exist or He doesn’t care.

If our spiritual enemy’s plan is to steal, kill, and destroy, it would make sense that he would start with our identities—the very core of our beings. But our Savior has already prepared our defense. He has made us His co-heirs and equipped us with everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3); a full armor to protect us in battle (Eph. 6:10–18); a means to escape sin’s clutches (1 Cor. 10:13); and His Spirit’s eternal presence to guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

In his book Identity Matters , Terry Wardle asserts, “Discovering who we are in Christ unlocks an inheritance that is eternal, secure, and overflowing with transforming grace that changes our lives at the deepest level, unleashing amazing possibilities for life and ministry.” In a more cautionary tone, Rob Reimer exposes three lies that crack our identity in Christ at its foundational core—our souls (read “The Foundation of a Healthy Soul“).

Also, consider downloading and printing “Who We Are in Christ,” a collection of scriptural promises compiled by President John Stumbo to remind us of our true, unshakable spiritual identity. It’s a great tool to have on hand when you are feeling vulnerable to the devil’s attacks. And to further fortify your defense, go on a “guided tour” through scripture by visiting John Soper’s “Mission 119” site. The best defense is a good offense.

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