Losing Our Identity
I think it would be a safe assumption that nearly everyone has heard of identity theft. In the modern technological age we live in today identity theft has been a great concern and problem.
For some people like me, we’ve only experienced this on a small scale. There have been multiple times that the banking institution has called about questionable purchases on the credit card and sure enough someone was up north or down in Miami spending it up. The bank realizes it doesn’t make sense and of course disputes the charges. (That’s not always the case I’ve been told).
It’s even worse when you go through a check-out line and attempt to use your debit card and it is denied. “I know there are available funds in there” you say but still denied. Turns out someone has stolen my personal information and used my debit card to go on a shopping spree. Getting that sorted out and disputed will convince you that the days of mason jar banking in the back yard is the way to go.
Some have experienced much worse where people have hacked and stolen their personal information and gone to much greater lengths and done far more damage.
When someone’s identity is stolen on whatever scale it always leaves the victim left with a mess to clean up and a wide range of emotions to work through. You’re angry and frustrated with having to go through all the necessary hoops to get that identity back. You feel vulnerable and taken advantage of as someone has taken this personal thing from you. You feel insecure and are hesitant to use any information that may invite the same dilemma.
Losing our identity today in those secular things involves someone else taking our identity and looking like us on paper or online. Today’s identity theft is somewhat easily done if precautions aren’t put in place.
I would suggest that we face the same main problem spiritually, although with different terms.
God’s people have faced the problem of losing their identity for a long time. This is understood with the knowledge that God has always intended His people to be set apart from those of the world.
“But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.” (Psa 4:3)
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” (2 Tim 2:21)
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Pet. 2:9)
In the days of Samuel the people decided that they wanted to be like the nations around them and have a king. Hosea preached to a people that had long lost their identity where God says of them with the birth of Gomer’s third child “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” (Hos 1:9)
They found themselves in this state because they wanted to be like the world around them. They sought to be like the other nations and in turn had become worse than the nations they had driven out. They worshipped the Baals and other gods that their culture sought.
What about us today? Losing our identity spiritually isn’t the same as someone trying to look like us but rather us seeking to be like the world around us. We find ourselves so engrossed in the world around us and all the things that entertain us and occupy our time we look and sound more like the perishing world around us rather than a people set APART.
Just as we feel that wide range of emotions when our identity is stolen and misused our Heavenly Father feels the same emotions when His identity is abandoned and misused. He speaks that through Hosea especially.
What’s our identity? Are we taking heed to the admonition in Ephesians 5:1 to “be imitators of God as beloved children.” or have we lost our identity?