I was created in the very beginning, even before the world began.
-- Proverbs 8:23
Identity theft made the headlines several times in 2014--particularly through the massive data breaches and hacks that struck companies like The Home Depot and Sony Motion Pictures. Just how big a problem is identify theft? According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 761 data breaches last year. And they exposed a total of 83,176,279 records!
The damage from these costly cyber-crimes can take years to repair. But believe it or not, there's another kind of identity theft that's much more serious: It's the one that robs its victims of the abundant life they should develop and enjoy as Christ-followers.
How does this happen? The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become a new creation in God's sight. But far too many people have unknowingly taken on false identities through the negative messages they received early in life. One cause is a parent telling his or her child that "they'll never amount to anything" or that they need to set low expectations for their career or other critical life-milestone. Over and over, children hear that they're "just not smart enough" or "don't have what it takes to make it."
Repeated early and often enough, these fictions can become reality. Moreover, they gradually blind us to the truth about our worth and potential through Jesus. We then end up living our lives trying to be someone (or something) that God never intended. Our identities are effectively stolen.
If this sounds familiar, it's time for a spiritual reality check. First, look back at your past and identify and examine the negative messages that you received earlier in life. Then consider their sources. Can you honestly say that those painful "words of wisdom" were true, or do you actually have God-given talents and abilities?
It's no wonder that so many of us fail to meet our potentials. If fed a constant diet of half-truths, distortions and falsehoods, even a PhD with an excellent academic record might perceive their proven accomplishments as mere mediocrity!
The truth is that God doesn't see His creation through a clouded, distorted lens. He knew you before you were born and knows the good plans that He has for you. And once you expose the past lies that once sentenced you to failure and underachievement, your true identity as a Christ-follower will be revealed and restored.