It’s a travesty that over 12 million people in the U.S. had their identities stolen last year. Somebody pretends they’re somebody they’re not and over $24 billion gets confused in the process.
But there’s a bigger identity theft happening. As of 2012, 189 million adult Americans identified themselves as Christians. That’s three out of every four. Not to go negative or cynical, but do three fourths of the people you know have ‘peace love and joy like a river’? To be more personal, if you were indicted and put on trial for being a follower of Jesus, would there be enough evidence and witnesses for a conviction? Truth is we’ve gotten careless with our identity . . . with who we are and what we stand for. The Christian ‘brand’ is in trouble because these millions of people say they’re connected to Jesus but never have.
When someone connects personally with Jesus, they get a new identity. They don’t have to go the DMV for a 2 hour wait and a bad photo. They get forgiveness . . . a clean slate . . . and a new identity. They become adopted sons and daughters of a perfect Heavenly Father. Brothers and sisters of His only son Jesus. They get a deep-seated peace about the outcome of things, both in this life and the great beyond. The King has new kids! Heaven is so happy the angels dance. I wouldn’t be surprised if they give showers, eat cake and give gifts to any saints who had a hand in the new birth.
Back here on earth . . . more often than not, that new identity gets stolen. We forget how special we are. We screw up and, even though we’re forgiven, we stop seeing ourselves as God sees us. We’re defrauded of our legitimate identity and settle for one that’s illegitimate and wrong. We remember the preacher from our bad church experience telling us how deceptive our hearts are – how we’re ‘nothing but sinners’ who need to repent. Before we know it, we can barely remember the identity Jesus gave us. We’re (again) seeing ourselves as lost losers with no hope and no future. Given the temptation, we’ll go hang out the same bad influences and before long, our identity is muddled, confused and lost, at least to us.
On the other side of all this, the U.I.A. (the Ultimate Identity Authority) – King Jesus – never forgets our identity. He’s neither confused nor deterred by our wondering off or running away. His (new) birth records are never lost or hacked. He hurts for us when we allow the enemy to confuse us about who we are. He gave it all up for us on the Cross to pay for our sins and give us this new identity. We are His representation on earth. You’ve heard, “You may be the only ‘Jesus’ they’ll ever see.” It’s true. When our identities get stolen – when we take ourselves out of the game, Jesus loses His hands and feet on earth. He becomes a 2000-year-old concept instead of living, loving, caring bunch of people who carry His identity and His spirit.
You may not feel like a beloved son of the living God. You may not feel like a brother or sister of Jesus. But if you’ve ever humbled yourself and genuinely asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, then you’ve got an identity more permanent than a social security number. You’ve got an eternal security number. You’re file says “One of Mine” and it’s signed personally . . . in Jesus’ blood.
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