Warning: I’m about to get preachy here. You might want to turn the page. Er, um, click to a different tab. But don’t worry, I’m preaching to me here. The only toes I’m looking to step on here are my own.
I woke up this morning pretty much the same as every day, unwillingly. I dragged myself out of bed and began my morning process. As I stood there packing my husband’s lunch I heard these words, “You have let your identity get stolen.”
God made it pretty clear that this was what I have been waiting to hear and what I’ve been needing to write.
I’ve been letting my identity get stolen.
We live in a world of identity theft. It is rampant. As such we also live in a world full of warnings and tips on how to prevent identity theft.
We know how to check gas pumps for card skimmers, position our bodies so people can’t see our PIN, and to check our bank accounts and credit scores frequently in order to monitor them for identity theft.
We try to prevent identity theft because once your identity is stolen it is such a pain to get it back. Proving who you are, removing unwanted charges against your credit, notifying all the people with whom you do regular business and having them change their records of you. It is a hassle. And once you have done it all, you have to periodically recheck to make sure your identity is still protected against unwanted assault.
Years ago my Mother-In-Law had her wallet stolen. It was a hassle to fill out a police report, fix all the unwanted charges, change all the information that was no longer correct, and in general return to normal life. During the course of the investigation, video footage was found of the person claiming to be my MIL checking out at a store. Viewing the video, one was able to easily say, “That isn’t her.”
Friends, that is Jesus. When our identity is stolen by satan, Jesus looks at the footage of our life and says, “That’s not her.” The problem is, we don’t always hear Him. Because we don’t listen.
Do not misunderstand. Your identity can never really be stolen. Not from Jesus who knows who we really are. But it can be stolen from us. We can begin to soak in the lies and forget all the Truths we have known until we believe the lies against our identity and begin to question who we truly are.
Satan is such a dirty rotten liar and thief. He is out to steal our identity. He wants to steal our joy and lie to us about who we are. He doesn’t want us to remember who we are. He wants to steal that identity so that we wander around wondering who we really are. And he distracts us long enough that we begin to question who we used to be. Were really ever who we thought we were?
Let’s take a moment and remember who we are and Whose we are.
I am the daughter of the King. I am the heir. I belong to the Holy King of Kings. I am all the things that He says that I am.
And no amount of lies from the pit of hell will change who I am.
But if I don’t monitor the statements of who I am, monitor my identity, the lies will change who I think I am. They will allow me to wallow in the stains and blemishes on my credit made by the thief.
When your identity is stolen, you are not liable for the dings on your credit made by the thief. But when we allow satan to steal our identity from us, to convince us we are not who we thought we were, we allow him to stain our credit with Christ. Or to think he has (or we have). Truthfully, Christ is watching the footage and saying, “That’s not her” and instantly cleaning our credit, removing the charges against our credit made by satan. But we let the filthy liar make those charges, unchecked. We, maybe it’s just me, I stand there and look at the charges to my credit, my character and I begin to believe they must be true. There are so many. They must be real.
And somewhere in the back of my mind I remember all the lessons on how to protect my identity, the steps to take to regain my identity once it has been stolen, and I ignore them, feeling somehow like I deserve the punishment for allowing the situation to happen. I didn’t safeguard my identity well enough so I deserve the punishment.
I think maybe I want the punishment.
I think maybe I am more comfortable with punishment than Grace because I understand it. It makes sense. And I have some control. Punishment puts me in control because I can choose to avoid punishment with my behaviors. (Not that I am any good at that, mind you.) Grace puts me out of control because God’s love for me is all His to give and not mine to earn.
Which is delightful.
You mean, God just loves me? Just because? Just because He chooses to? Not because I earn it? Deserve it? But because of who He is? Man, that gives all the control to God. All the power and control of loving me is God’s. I’d like to say I’m happy with that. But I’m not really.
I mean I love Grace. I love that God loves me even when I am so unlovable. And I’m glad that I can’t earn it, because I can’t lose it either.
But if I’m being honest here, and why not be, I’m rather terrified of it. If God loves me wholly by choice, then will He choose to stop loving me? I’m so wholly unlovable. Maybe that is what terrifies me. But God. Oh, He is so Good. You know He even understands that fear because He tells us in Romans 8:38-39:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These words are of great comfort. Because they remind me that I can’t really separate myself from the love of God. And He won’t choose to be separated. Grace is hard and messy. But Grace is what I really, really need.
So today I realized that I have let my identity be stolen. From me. But not from Christ. He has always known who I am and He still knows who I am. I may have a bit of an earthly mess to clean up, may have to reestablish credit with people who came into contact with the satan-stolen version of my identity. But my Creator knows me. He believes me. He knows which purchases toward my character were made by me and which were made by satan.
The key is to stay in connection and communication with the issuer of our credit, to stay connected to God so that He can help us clear the charges as satan makes them before we become so buried under the pile of charges that we can’t hear Jesus saying, “That’s not you.”