Exciting phrases, easy acronyms, and memorable lists formed from dense works of systematic theology can be helpful for the everyday Christian. While these reductions of God’s Word and His nature help us understand general frameworks, they are unable to help us understand everything the Bible teaches. It is one thing...
What is one of our greatest fears today?
It’s when the wrong person gets access to our name, account numbers, and passwords, stealing our identity and everything we own: identity theft. While it has never happened to me, I imagine it would be a nightmare. And so we live in an age of safe passwords (which I can never remember) and constant warnings about leaving our purses sitting in our shopping cart or hung on the back of a restaurant chair.
Yet, as careful as we are to guard our identity in regard to finances and possessions, as believers we are often far less careful when it comes to guarding our spiritual identity.
Regarding identity, the first thing we need to ask is whether we have been reconciled to God through His Son Jesus Christ. There is much confusion today about this, but Scripture is very clear. To be saved begins by recognizing that, by nature, we were dead in our trespasses, enemies of God, and sinners who followed the course of this world.
Salvation is to believe that God sent His own Son to live the life of obedience we could not live and to take the penalty we deserved by dying on the Cross. When we believe that Good News, and receive the gift of salvation, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and set apart as God’s beloved children. And that becomes our new identity.
The problem is that we might know all this in our head, while failing to connect it to our daily lives. The apostle Paul acknowledged the tension between who God says we are in Christ, and the reality we often experience day by day.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own” (Philippians 3:12).
Paul acknowledged his imperfections; yet he was confident that his perfection in Christ would one day be complete. His remaining sin served as a reminder of God’s amazing grace. So God’s grace motivated him to press on to the high mark of Jesus Christ!
Daily we are confronted, and sometimes discouraged, with our own remaining sin. But we can be confident that, in Christ, we are counted righteous before God. We are becoming like Him, and one day we will be made perfect, because Christ has made us His own.
In order to live victoriously in this “already, but not yet” reality, we must preach the gospel to ourselves daily. We must also resist the enemy’s schemes to steal, kill, and destroy the security, joy, peace, and other treasures Christ secured for us through our redemption. How do we do this?
Let’s look at ten ways the enemy works to create a breach in our spiritual security system:
1. By distracting us with the busyness and cares of this world, he attempts to keep us out of the Word where we are reminded of who we are in Christ.
2. By bringing out “old photos” of who we once were, the enemy reminds us of all the ways we have failed God and others – or the way others have failed us- so he can keep us in bondage to our past.
3. By raising questions about God’s goodness and love, he attempts to keep us from feeling secure in our relationship with Christ.
4. He offers us instant gratification with counterfeits of God’s good gifts, which always leave us dissatisfied and wanting.
5. He reminds us of how hard our lives are and points out others who have it much easier so he can steal our joy.
6. He attacks us in our place of vulnerability and weakness to rob us of hope.
7. He brings confusion by whispering half-truths that sound right but keep us in bondage.
8. He encourages our bent toward independence with a distorted gospel. He implies that while Christ died to save us, it is still up to us to become holy by our own self-effort.
9. He tempts us to worship people and possessions rather than exalting Christ alone, leaving us on a sandy foundation that can easily be shaken.
10. He draws attention to the possessions and gifts that other people have, promoting a spirit of discontentment within us.
Do you recognize the schemes of the enemy in the above behaviors? Are they familiar to you? How important it is for God’s children to see the ways he attempts to distract us from who we are in Christ!
Share with us in the comments below: Why is being familiar with the enemy’s schemes helpful to the believer’s daily walk with Christ? In the next post, we will look at ten specific ways that we can build up and guard our spiritual identity. So stay tuned for part two!