May 31, 2018

Last Friday I was hacked. Someone got into my Face Book account and sent out Messages to my unsuspecting FB Friends. The Messages purported to be from me but they were not. An imposter took over my account, and my identity had been stolen.

I do not post on Face Book often and have no desire to accumulate Friends I do not otherwise know, so that problem was quickly resolved. The main damage was in my sense of being violated and used, and the vulnerability and fear that comes along with it. I’m still trying to determine if my laptop and phone were somehow infected in the process. Even after doing several virus scans on each, now every little glitch has me concerned. Getting hacked will do that to you…

This incident has me thinking about a deeper issue. The reality is each one of us is being continuously hacked, and our identities stolen. This has nothing to do with Face Book or the internet or cyber security, it has to do with who we are in Christ. The world is constantly trying to steal that away from us, and seems to be doing a pretty job at it too! We are all victims of spiritual identity theft.

Scripture tells us the truth about who we are in Christ. Whether it is “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17), or “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20), or “I want to gain Christ and be found in him” (Philippians 3:8-9) the message is clear: Through the gifts of grace and faith, a fundamental change has happened to those who are in Christ. We no longer belong to ourselves alone, we belong to Christ and are incorporated into his risen life. Our spiritual identity now is in Christ, even though our physical being and circumstances remain the same. As Paul put it “Your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). I am sure you truly believe this, as do I.

Yet the non-hidden side of us, the part of us that is in the world, faces an incessant drumbeat undermining this fundamental reality. The messages the world sends us tell us “You must do something great and be somebody.” “You will be happy once you get ___________.” “You are loveable once you __________.” “You need something more, something better.”
It is all a lie and a scam.

We know this, yet we continue to buy into these other messages too easily. The divorce rate for Christian people is the same as it is for non-christians, as is the addiction rate, as are most other social indicators. We have been hacked, and our identities are being stolen.

The theft will go on until we recognize and embrace this one truth – Christ alone is enough, Christ alone is sufficient. If our life really is “hidden with Christ in God” what more could we could we possibly need? What could be more valuable than that?

The allure and messages of this world cannot tell us who we are. In fact, the opposite is true. At every turn, the world reminds us who and what we are not. (Not thin enough, not wealthy enough, not famous enough, not smart or savvy enough…) Christ is ultimately the only one who can tell us who we really are, for we belong to him.

Next week: Dealing With Spiritual Identity Theft

See you Sunday!