The term identity theft, coined in 1964, is used to describe the act in which one person poses as another person through the fraudulent use of things like that person’s name, Social Security number, drivers license, or credit card. It’s a crime that has existed for decades and has increased with the advent of the internet and almost daily data breaches. It is a crime that can ruin the victim’s life, wreaking havoc on his or her credit status and finances, and causing a multitude of other problems.
In the spiritual realm, we have an enemy who would like nothing better than to steal our identity. But it’s not our earthly identity, the identity that ties us to our earthly possessions, that our enemy is out to steal. Our enemy, the devil, is out to steal our identity as children of God. He does this, not through the internet, not through our Social Security numbers, but through our minds by casting doubt as to who we are. And he chooses those times when the challenges of life have brought us to a place where we are most vulnerable. So, how do we fight back? How do we defend ourselves against these attacks on our identity? Let’s look to Jesus for the answer.
After Jesus was baptized, He spent forty days in the wilderness, having nothing to eat that whole time. Jesus, although He was fully divine, was also fully human. He was hungry, weakened by the lack of sustenance for such a long time. It was then that the devil tried to tempt Jesus, saying, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” The devil’s goal was to make Jesus use His divinity for His own physical, human purposes. Jesus responded by saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:1-4, NASB)
While in a weakened state, Jesus’ defense against the temptation of the devil was to use Scripture, quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3. In times when we are weak, and the devil tries to steal our identity by making us question that we are children of God, we need to follow Jesus’ example as He was tempted in the wilderness. We need to use Scripture, the Word of God, as our defense. We need to spend time in His Word so that when the devil has us questioning who we are, we can remind the devil that God has written that we have been given the right to become children of God because we believe in Jesus (John 1:12). We can point out to him that our Father has such great love for us that we are called His children. And that’s exactly what we are (1 John 3:1).