If I were to randomly ask you for some ID, you’d likely pull out your drivers license and then give me a quizzical look. As it is, rarely a day goes by that we aren’t asked for some form of identification. In the physical world we see it at friendly traffic stops, as we board airplanes, when we vote, and when we rent a car. In our online worlds, we create accounts at our banks or favorite eCommerce sites using usernames and passwords, and we are asked for some identifying information that keeps us unique from all others.
A purpose exists in this need for identification. Once our identity has been established and confirmed, we are free to move about within the rules of that particular environment. If our identity is unable to be validated, the contrary holds true. We are limited or denied access to whatever the ID was necessary for. If we continue to live without a confirmed identity, or by using someone else’s identity (as in identity theft), we’ll always be looking over our shoulder. An entire market has been established to cater to this second group.
Most ID cards have a few details that let the requester know whether it’s legit. Issuing authority, legal name, birthdate, issue date, expiration date, picture, height, weight, etc. You get the picture. Some even have a special watermark or seal to make it hard to duplicate.
Now what if I were to ask you for your spiritual identity card? You know, the one that proves who you are spiritually, on the inside. You’d probably laugh. But think about it… if you actually had that type of ID card, what would it say. Does yours have an expiration date based on how well you perform? Does it have a list of requirements you have to keep for it to remain valid? Does it have your job title? Does it list all the good things you’ve done? Did you get it for being good?
Our spiritual identity can and must be validated as both official and meeting the requirements of the issuer for us to be free to move about as we were created, on mission and with purpose. The issuer in this case is the God of the universe and the validation required is simply that Jesus is present in us; that we believed and received His gift of sacrificial love. You’ll notice that there is no mention of behavior, church attendance, attire, or age. We are validated purely and entirely on the basis of what Jesus did for us and that we agree with Him that it was enough. If we are unable to prove our spiritual identity as valid, we’ll use other means of identity, hoping to fool people and to give us the appearance of real living. And just like in the natural world, it’s not real and it leaves us forever looking over our shoulder, hoping and praying we don’t mess up and get caught.
That’s no way to live and it’s no way to die. Identity in Christ says you belong permanently, regardless of your behavior. It doesn’t negate consequences of behavior that is unbecoming of this new identity. It’s just that the behavior doesn’t revoke the identity. This identity is permanent and freedom is it’s by-product. The highest calling on our life then is to love God and to love others. That’s it. How and where we do that is only found when we are willing to listen to the One who knows us best through the voice of the Holy Spirit He gave us. You’ll notice that Freedom and Love then become interconnected. That is why identity is so important.