Monday, August 28, 2006

Stolen Identity by Ted van Diepen (from Sunday, August 20)

Stolen identity has become a real problem in the electronic or cyber world. People can get a hold of information about you and begin to live your life and spend your money.

The Matrix illustrates the ultimate in Stolen Identity. Our true identity has been stolen from us and we have been duped into believing we are something completely different.

There are two persons involved in your transformation process who have a significant influence on the outcome: One who is a vision and the other is an illusion.

The biggest deterrent in your becoming the person you want to be is the person you think you are.

We all have an illusion of ourselves that we have painstakingly created through time, tears, pain, and suffering. We have invested a lifetime into creating and supporting this illusion. We think we are this illusion!

Two thousand years ago our old man – all that we were apart from God – was crucified.

I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 TLB

That death is not something we need to make happen. It is the reality.

Becoming the person who lives in consistent victory, prosperity, joy, and peace is totally dependent on leaving the past behind. Jesus did not die and conquer death and hell to clean up your old life. He did all that to give you a new life. The person you used to be, not just what you used to do, is dead—you were crucified with Christ!

You can’t get on with your new life in Christ if you think there is anything left to resolve in the old life!

The heart of the Gospel is the fact that Christ gave Himself in a complete exchange where God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corimthians 5:21

In Jesus, your old man is really dead!

Your old identity is established by the sum total of your life’s experiences. Everything that has ever occurred in your life and all of the judgments you have passed about those events shape and define who you believe you are.

Holding onto our old identity keeps us locked into the old life with all of its problems. We don’t need to crucify the old man. He has been crucified already. We simply need to accept his death and let his memory die. That will only happen as we assume a new identity, a new sense of self, based totally on the finished work of Jesus.

Our reality, to the degree that it is inconsistent with God’s, is an illusion.

Too many of us have used our past experiences as the standard for measuring and judging reality. Instead of establishing a life paradigm from the Bible and using that as a basis for interpreting and understanding life, we have used our experience as a means to understand and interpret God’s Word

One of the ways you know that you believe something in your heart instead of just your head is when this belief alters your sense of identity. Until it is a heart belief, it will not change your life.

We can’t get on with resurrection life if all of our focus is on our former life. That life was a shame. Let it die the death it deserves.

Paul’s advice to us was: Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relationship to it broken…. Romans 6:11

This is part of renewing your mind: accepting all of the New Testament realities as fact. Consider them so. When you consider them (in your heart) to be true, your perception changes; your basis of logic and reasoning changes; but more importantly, when you accept God’s New Testament truth as real, you experience His grace that empowers you to live that reality.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old has gone, the new has come!

It is impossible to put on a new identity while holding onto the old. The identity that you magnify in your thoughts, the “you” that you think about, becomes your sense of reality. And you become empowered by that sense of reality.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Rom 6:6-7 NIV.

As we renew our minds, this new identity becomes our sense of self. To the degree that this becomes our reality, we will live in this new identity.

Without accepting the crucified reality (When Christ died, you died!), you will never escape your past. Instead you will continue to spend your life counseling it, cleaning up and trying to overcome it. That person is dead. Leave the dirt on the grave and move on.

For anyone who keeps his life for himself shall lose it; and anyone who loses his life for me shall find it again. What profit is there if you gain the whole world—and lose eternal life? What can be compared to the value of eternal life? Matt 16:25, 26.

There is no way to follow Jesus unless we follow him in death. We don’t have to suffer death for our sins; Jesus paid that price. He died the death that awaits everyone born into sin. In order to enter God’s reality, you must give up your own.

You can’t crucify your old man. You can’t make him any more dead than he is. All you can do is consider it so in Christ.

The question is will we accept that death? Will we lay down all that life with all its memories and false identity? And will we now see ourselves as God has made us to be through Christ? To hold onto the illusion is a vain attempt to save your life. You are already dead. To accept that death is to live in a new power, a new strength, and a new destiny!

Faith looks at the outrageous claims of God’s Word and considers them to be so!


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