Finding one’s identity in Christ is an important part of the Christian life. There are many things that pull us from our identity and purpose.
Identity theft is among the fastest growing crimes in the U.S. Accordingly, U.S. government statistics, indicate identity theft has increased by more than 33% in the past five years. Further, in 2018 alone, 7% of adults in the U.S. have experienced identity theft in some form. That amounts to 17.6 million Americans!
Identity theft is defined as “misuse of personal information for fraudulent purposes (Bureau of Justice). Furthermore, identity theft is a crime that affects adults and minors alike. since they have social security numbers and often bank accounts.
Our identity is the heart of who we are. Correspondingly, the Bible says a lot to say about identities. Those who follow Christ are called disciples, Christians, and followers. The Bible tells us what our true identity if Christ is — a child of God.
Unfortunately, most Americans tend to refer to themselves in terms of what they do and not who they are. They are a nurse, a teacher, a waiter, a doctor. Interestingly, the Bible never identifies us in terms of what we do. Our identity in Christ always identifies us in terms of whose we are.
The Bible says: In 2 Corinthians 5:16-18 “We have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know Him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. (NLT)”
Conversely, culture may try to revamp our identity to fit their mold. However, our true identity is found in Christ. Our very purpose is to bring reconciliation. Therefore, our goal is to bring those outside of the faith into a relationship with God. Sadly, without accepting our purpose, our identity will remain in crisis.
Fortunately, in the world there are ways that we can protect our identity from thieves. Together with common sense, there are unwritten rules for protecting yourself against those who would steal your identity. Similarly, in the world of faith, we have an enemy who, ultimately, wants to rob us of our identity and steal our purpose. And, of course, we have ways to protect our identity.
In light of this we can combat identity theft in four ways:
#1 – Know the source of your identity
First, to protect your identity, you must know the source of that identity. That means, as a Christ follower, you need to know God. The only way to intimately know God is to spend time with God. Allow God to define your identity. This is done through prayer, meditation, worship, and listening to His voice.
#2 – Read what the manual says about your identity
Secondly, to protect your identity in the world, you need to know the risks. Equally important for protection is to have a firewall, spyware, and malware. In the same fashion for Christians, you need to have a firewall in place. You have those boundaries set up to protect you. These are found in God’s manual, the Bible.
#3 – Be aware of your surroundings and how it impacts your identity
Third, to protect your identity, you need to be aware of where you are posting. If you are in a public place, be aware that there could be identity thieves trying to access your personal information. Similarly, in the Christian life, likewise, you need to be in community. You need to have people surround you who will encourage you, challenge you, and hold you accountable.
Additionally, at The Journey Church, we have JCGs (Journey Community Groups). These are intentional groups that meet to study the Word, to dig in deep. The purpose of JCG is to study the Bible in community. Your group will encourage you, pray for you, and support your walk of faith. They will help to hone your identity in Christ and make it stronger.
#4 – Keep personal information close/protect your identity
Finally, you need to be careful, with putting your personal information online. In the same way, you should not put your birthdate, social security number, or bank information on publically accessed sites.
Additionally, in the faith community, this means you share your heart with those who share your vision. Every person does not need to know your struggle, but someone should. You should have relationship with those who hold you accountable and will care for you.
How will you protect your identity?