The Real You Revealed: Realize Your Identity in Christ
It happened about 3 years ago while we were in Spain. On the last night of our trip, after doing some wonderful sightseeing in Madrid, we headed to our rental car. The moment we opened the car door we sensed something was wrong. My heart sank as I reached for my purse, which I had hidden under the seat. Much to my relief, it was there, but my wallet was no longer in it. And the suitcase that was in the trunk? Gone! We’d been robbed! For those who have experienced this, you know it’s a sickening feeling. It only took a second to realize that my good name, my good credit, my identity was now in the hands of complete strangers who could take everything I own and make my life miserable.
Identity theft is one of the most frequent, costly, and pervasive crimes in our country with approximately 1 in 14 Americans having their identities stolen each year. Fortunately, the thieves who broke into our car weren’t all that sophisticated, but most professional identity thieves are very sophisticated! They hack computer databases without a trace. They steal credit card numbers using special devices. And they pose as financial institutions.
But the most sophisticated identity thief of all is Satan. He’s the master identity thief and he wants to steal yours! He does it in disguise. The devil wears Prada–he masquerades in designer brands and tricks you into thinking you can have it all. The devil wants to destroy who God intended you to be. Here’s a few tricks he plays on you:
The devil tricks us with the opinions of others. He uses the opinions of others to keep you in his clutches. People have said things about you all your life. Your friends, your co-workers, your parents, and your spouses all have said things about you that don’t reflect your God-given identity. We listen to these opinions and after a while we begin to care more about what others say and think than what God says and thinks. Listen carefully. Sometimes standing behind human words are Satan’s lies.
The devil uses hurt, pain, and bitterness to disguise our true identity. He seeks to unlock your shame and your insecurities. If he can get you resentful or angry, and you take that anger out on someone else, he wins. If he can get you bitter or ashamed or defeated, he knows you’ll forget who you really are.
The devil uses media and culture to confuse us. Whether it’s TV or social media, he bombards us with messages that tell us we should look a certain way, dress a certain way, tend to our home and children a certain way, be more talented, act a certain way, buy a certain thing, or do what everyone else is doing. It’s all so confusing.
Satan tricks us with our own thoughts. He put thoughts in our minds and tempts us. He makes us think things like, “Just this once,” or “I deserve this,” or “Don’t worry about it. Nobody will notice.” Or even, “You have to earn God’s acceptance. You know that sin? It’s unforgiveable. Who do you think you are? You’re a nobody.”
After Satan puts thoughts in your mind, he gets you to repeat them. He plants the seed and then he just lets you roll… repeating things… over and over until they’re ingrained. Spiraling, churning, unshakeable thoughts that can lead to depression, despair, or anxiety. They become a part of who we are. Repetition is the mother of all learning. These swirling thoughts change us, much to Satan’s delight.
What trick is Satan playing on you today? What propaganda is he preaching through others, through pain and bitterness, or through media? What questions and thoughts is the devil planting in your mind about your identity, about who you are, and about who God is?
Here’s the good news. You’re not defined by how others see you or what they say about you. You’re not defined by anything you think or anything you do. Rather, you’re defined by what’s been done for you! And what’s been done for you is that you’ve been given a new identity, the old washed away with Jesus’ blood. You’ve been made new, re-identified. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
Our Lord takes all of our thoughts, decisions, hurt, pain, and confusion, aligns them to His purpose, and covers us with Jesus’ righteousness. It’s a whole new wardrobe. We have the same relationship with God that Jesus has. We’re His children and as His children we’re going to receive an unbelievable inheritance.
If you want to know who you are, look to Jesus. Because in Him, God tells us who we are. We’re His!
Tammy Ferry is the Director of Institutional Research and Assessment at Concordia University Wisconsin. She has a Ph.D. in educational psychology and her special interest is in the diverse influences on women’s career identity and development.WLI