Trouble stays when we live from the wrong identity


     Over the past few months, I have witnessed a constant struggle in my life. Unfortunately, my struggle has been uncovered at the expense of my arrogance toward someone else's struggle (don't you hate when God won't let you think that your better than some one else). As I have mulled over conversations and interactions with others ... it often reveals that I am living from the same source of lies and half-truth statements (also lies) that have plagued my christian walk for these 20+ years. What are those lies and half-truth statements, you might ask? Well, its actually a singular lie! It is one that all of us as Christ's Kingdom citizens and God's adopted children (by the way this is one and the same) live and struggle in. That we are anything less than His and what He says about us.
    
     Identity is important to all of us. It is out of identity that we find our hopes and fears. It is out of identity that we find peace and turmoil. Our identity leads us to sin or to purity. Our identity arises joy within us or our identity locks us down in depression. Our identity, who we believe we are is the fuel to the life that Christ desires us to live, but is also the flame that allows Satan to keep us from God's great love for us. Identity is a massive thing in our lives and if we are not careful to root ourselves within what God says about us, we easily find ourselves living out the very lies the enemy speaks to us.
     
     As a former youth pastor, I once believed that the teenage years were the only years that adults deal with identity crisis. I scoffed at those who would laugh at men in the mid-40's purchasing cars they have no business driving or coloring their hair to keep that youthful look. I would just shake my head at those women around the same age (I am not going deeper into women's ages because I value breathing) that would attempt (again "attempt" is the key word)to wear clothing that the designer created for those much younger than us. Identity is not only a youth problem, but a life's problem.
     
     Too many of us attempt living a life that really is not ours. Media projects their beliefs on us attempting to draw us into living a life that matches their unfortunate views of the human life, especially the human American life. People around us, project their beliefs on us in the hope that they can live comfortably around us and that we are not too upsetting to their living (i.e. when we take it personal when someone doesn't take our advice or people around us are locked in sin and will not repent the way we want them to). There is a constant pull for the christian, the King's adopted kid, to live in a way that our identity is wrapped up in the good of this life, but not the God of us.
     
     We are tempted to wrap up our identity in parenting, in friendships, in job positions, in talents we possess. But what happens when we loose those? What happens when our children leave our homes or even worse, leave us? What happens if you and I are fired or are not able to have the job of our dreams? What happens when aging or accidents remove the talents we once enjoyed? What happens to us when our identity is wrapped up in other people and those people are not around anymore?
     
     What happens is we simply do no know how we are anymore. We then are left in fear, walking around as if the world we have known is no more ... but that's probably the best thing for many of us. Many of us (and when I say us, I really mean me) have fallen to the lie that we are (I am) what others say about us (me) or that we (I) have no life past the relationships we (I) once enjoyed. We fall to the lie that we cannot live without that car, that house or that perfect kiss. We fall to the lie that we will be alone for the rest of our lives when that person leaves ... then we live that lie.
     
     Christian, God says that we are not children of Satan (the father of lies) but that we are God's adopted children (Romans 8:13-15, Galatians 3:26). What God says about us, is our identity. He says we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) and that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). He says that we have been rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred into the Kingdom of His beloved Son ... we have been redeemed, forgiven, and made fit for heaven (Colossians 1:12-14). He calls us friend by laying His life for us on the cross (John 15:13). He has a lot to say about who we are 'in Christ'. In fact, there are more than 120 passages in the New Testament of the Bible that deal with our being 'in Christ'. All of these speak to the truth of who we are, our identity.
     
     Let me finish with these thoughts in the hope that you and I would live differently. Yes, we get to be parents, lovers, athletes, musicians, spouses, pastors, bankers, steel workers, coaches, friends, dancers, artists, baristas (some of my favorite people), surfers, care takers, aunts and uncles. However, none of these are more important than our true identity ... God's identity given to us. Actually, those other identities are to be lived out of our greatest and most important identity ... that we are God's and how we live depends on what God says about us and for us. Christian, please study the scriptures and see what the Lord says about you. If you and I would live fromm your true identity, the pain of this life will not over take us ... then you and I may live as more than a conqueror!

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