Identity theft is a big problem in the United States. In 2017 alone, there were almost 17 million cases of identity fraud resulting in over 16 billion dollars in losses. To say that it has become a worldwide epidemic is to put it mildly.

              I have been a victim of identity theft or fraud on at least two occasions. First, someone bought items at Lowe’s worth several thousands of dollars using my credit card. This was bad enough, but worst still was when a criminal stole my identity, which prevented me from working as a prison chaplain for several months until it was resolved.

              Our identity is our most precious earthly possession. No amount of money or riches can equal the worth of our souls. If our identity is stolen, we will suffer great economic loss, but when sin becomes our identity and lifestyle, we ourselves are lost.

              Christ came into this world to save our souls (Luke 19:9, 10). Now we are no longer associated with the devil, ruled by death or identified as sinners. We have a brand new identity in Christ.

              “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

              Jesus “invaded” this world (which was His in the first place) when he was born in Bethlehem. He also invaded our hearts when we received Him as our Lord and Savior. He lives in our hearts and rules our life through the Holy Spirit and his Word.

              This is not enough for Jesus or for us. He wants to live through us in the same way as John the Baptist once said…

               “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

               The goal is for us to disappear so Jesus can shine through us. He wants to replace our identity with his own identity, so that we can say with Paul,

               “ I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

               A. G.

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