My husband does everything he can to protect my online identity. Those who know me well wrote to inform me that my identity had been hijacked and that I should inform Brian. They know that I am not that great with computer issues but that I am married to an expert. I was very troubled by this experience as I hate that someone would steal my identity.
In going through this incident, I realized that my identity couldn’t really be stolen. People who knew me knew that I wouldn’t just send a link without an explanation. Even if you only know me through the weekly devotions I write, you probably didn’t believe that it was me writing without a spiritual application. Hopefully we are all a little wary of mysterious links even if they are sent from a reliable email address. There is more to a personal identity than just an address book.
I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. It is so common to have our identities stolen in our society; however, stolen identity is likewise an issue in our spiritual life. Just as I am vigilant to protect my computer, I need to be even more vigilant to protect my soul. From the very beginning it is our identities that the enemy most wants to keep from us. I love 1 John 3:1 because St. John the Evangelist says it so well. He is the one who called himself “the beloved” in his gospel. He writes that all who accept Jesus as our Savior have a new identity. He explains, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what who we are.” These words resonate with my soul. I discovered this powerful spiritual truth in my thirties, and this message has made a dramatic impact on my spiritual life. What we do is not who we are. Who we are is how God sees us. It is my greatest desire that everyone comes to see his true identity. I hoped to help others see themselves the way God sees them when I wrote the book How to Really Love God as Your Father. There is no other spiritual lesson so foundational to spiritual growth.
I taught my children this important spiritual lesson. When they were fighting with each other, I would explain: “Rachel, Ben is God’s son and you don’t talk to God’s son that way.” I realized she learned it well when she would tell me, “Mom, I’m God’s daughter and you don’t talk to God’s daughter that way.” I would have to agree and ask her to forgive me for yelling at her, but that didn’t give her a pass over the behavior I was correcting. It just brought me back to my true identity and hers. Part of knowing our true identity is, knowing the difference between who we are in Christ and who we are without Christ.
Though I learned this lesson years ago, I find myself needing to relearn it over and over. It is so easy for the enemy to get me off track and make me see myself in a negative way or as much better than I am. To reclaim my true identity all it takes is a moment of wondering at God’s lavish love for me. I connect to His love through His Word. I read the Bible every day and take a word or phrase with me into the day. I’ve been practicing this kind of devotional reading for decades now, and I believe it helps me remember who I am throughout the day.
I may not be very good at protecting my online identity, but God has enabled me to be an expert at protecting my spiritual identity. The way to do that is to open my heart, mind and spirit to the statements and promises that God says about me in His Word. No one can steal that from me.