Guard Your Identity
“Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. God now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make a savory food from them for your father, such as he loves. Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death.” And Jacob said to Rebekah, his mother, “Look, Esau, my brother, is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing.“
Identity theft is a horrible thing. Sadly, it happens to millions of people every year. You can do everything possible to keep your identity safe, but the theft of your identity can be as simple as stealing the mail right out of your mailbox or as complex as hacking into your personal accounts.
One of the worst things about identity theft isn’t really the money you may lose (although that’s a tough thing to go through), but the destruction of your reputation and good name. Although you were not the fault of your identity theft, people and businesses aren’t always forgiving and somehow no matter how many times you prove that it wasn’t you who racked up the bills or bounced the numerous checks, or even depleted your account into the red, your credit will be damaged as well as your name and it may take years to fix it.
An identity thief works under deception and lies to fulfill the lusts of their flesh. They want what you have without having to work as hard for it as you did. They want what they want quickly to enjoy the benefits of your hard work. They may even do it for the sole purpose of destroying you. So behind the scenes they work at stealing not only your identity but everything you’ve worked for. They want what’s rightfully yours.
We see this with Jacob and Esau. Before we can go over the main scripture, we must go back to Genesis 25:29-34 where Jacob wanted Esau’s birthright. Jacob had wanted something that wasn’t rightfully his. A birthright is the rights or privileges of a family’s first born son after the father passes away. Knowing Esau would not give it to him any other time, he chose the moment after Esau came back from hunting and was weary and hungry. He asked Jacob for some of the stew he had made and Jacob wouldn’t give him any unless Esau sold Jacob his birthright. Esau agreed in order to feed his flesh. Now fast forward to Genesis 27:8-12. Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, had previously overheard Jacob’s father, Isaac, speaking with his son, Esau, whom he loved greatly. Isaac had asked Esau to go hunting and bring back some meat to make him some food to eat and then he would bless him before he passed away. Rebekah knew Isaac was dying and could not see well so she took this opportunity to have Jacob, whom she loved greatly, deceive his father by having Jacob impersonate Esau. This was so Jacob would receive the blessing meant for Esau. Jacob had concerns that his father would realize he was trying to deceive him. Rebekah calmed his fears and dressed him in Esau’s clothing and put goatskin on his hands and neck. Jacob obeyed his mother and then brought the food she prepared to his father. As Isaac spoke with Jacob, he questioned some things that seemed not right such as how he found the meat so quickly to which Jacob replied “the Lord God gave me success”. Isaac then discerned that Jacob’s voice was not Esau’s but the hands felt like it. When Isaac asked Jacob to come near, the smell of Esau’s clothes deceived him into thinking it was really Esau and Isaac then blessed Jacob with Esau’s blessing. It wasn’t until later when Esau came back to feed Isaac did the truth come out but by then it was too late. It didn’t help that Esau had sold his birthright for a meal.
There are times when people will steal our identity just to get what they want much quicker than working for it. They aren’t concerned about the damage it may cause the person in the process. Their only concern is for their own pleasure. Even Christ has to deal with identity theft as we see in Matthew 24:24:
And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
As we have talked about the physical identity theft, we must also talk about the spiritual identity theft. We can find some of the same reasons and maneuvers behind spiritual identity theft as we can behind physical identity theft. Spiritually, we have an enemy who tries to steal our identity from us by going behind the scenes and stealing it from us. He may lure us away from the Word of God and right into the opposite of what we are called to do. Sometimes we will recognize it and sometimes we won’t. Sometimes we can do everything possible to protect our identity in Christ, keeping it close to us, but as soon as our back is turned and we let down our guard for a minute, the enemy comes from behind us and snatches it quickly. How does one get their spiritual identity stolen? By falling into the traps of the enemy and speaking or acting in a manner opposite of the Word of God. It’s when we allow our emotions to rule us and we stop depending on God and begin depending on ourselves or others. It can even be when we are lured and baited by the enemy through others into a situation or conversation that can cause us to look or act badly in order to destroy our testimony. We must stay awake and be aware because it can happen quickly. Below are a few examples of when it can hit:
– When we are weary. Jacob approached Esau for his birthright after he came back from hunting. He was tired and hungry and no doubt wasn’t thinking clearly. When we are spiritually tired and hungry for the Word it’s because we haven’t taken the time to read it for a while. This can cause us to become more emotional and not think as clearly. We then react to situations through negative words or actions that we normally wouldn’t react too.
– When we let down our guard. There will be times we will become comfortable in our situations or with people and we let down our guard. We may not read the Bible as much or pray as often, allowing ourselves to be distracted by situations going on around us or by material things of this world. This is the very moment the enemy will slip in and take advantage of the situation to try and destroy our testimony and damage our walk.
– When our prayers are answered and we receive what we want. Isn’t this sometimes the case? We pray for something, receive it, and then become distracted by it and now pray less. Worst case is when we begin accepting the glory for what we are doing and receiving.
There is one good thing about all of this. God is still in control and will always let us know when we are going in the wrong direction, committing wrong acts or are being wronged. He will always vindicate where vindication is needed and correct us where correction is needed.
If you find you are the victim of spiritual identity theft, you can turn things around through prayer and the Word of God. It will take the renewing of your mind as it states in Romans 12:2 and applying the Word of God to your situation. If you feel your testimony has been damaged, don’t fear because there isn’t anything God can’t repair as long as we are obedient and continue walking in His Word.
Lord, thank you for who you have called me to be. There are times, however, where I feel I have fallen victim to spiritual identity theft. Lord, help me to be aware of my surroundings and grant me self-control of my emotions so I may walk in a pleasing way to you. Protect my testimony that I’ve worked hard for and give me the strength to move forward daily in my walk and recovery. Keep my eyes focused on you and your Word so I can continue on, helping others along the way. I ask this in Jesus name…Amen.