Thursday, May 3, 2007

Identity Theft

What makes you part of a family? Did you earn that place? Do you have to fight for it? Is it a longing that is never fully realized? Is someone or something always in the way? How we answer these questions of belonging is at the heart of how we see ourselves: it is in fact our identity.

When Jesus came to our world, his purpose was to settle the issue of our identity. He died so that we can be born again as sons and daughters of His Heavenly Father. Sadly, we are often trapped in finding our identity, even as Christians, in something other than being sons or daughters within the family of God.

In the book, Identity Theft, Kevin Avram and Wes Boldt, examine the three counterfeit identities that seek to limit or even shut out the voice of the Spirit of God in our lives. They call these identities laborer, orphan, and beggar.

Here is an excerpt describing what they mean by these terms.

Laborer: Laborers find identity in their work, like and trust systems, and desire to emulate those who know how to “get things done” or “make it happen.” They want to please God, and believe they can do this through their labor or achievement. They believe that, in the end, they will receive recognition and reward for what they do or accomplish.

Orphan: Orphans cannot find their identity anywhere. They are comfortless and have difficulty seeing where they fit. Their identity is defined by a persistent sense of need and a desire for Sonship/Daughterhood, but their heart’s response of pride and ongoing tendency toward self-sufficiency keeps them from dependence on the Father.

Beggar: Like Laborers and Orphans, Beggars respond to truth in pride. They too see the world through the prism of self-sufficiency, but recognize they do not actually possess it. As such, they see the world as a collection of victims and villains, with themselves as the victims—even when they act as villains.

I fully recognize that much of my discomfort about myself is the feeling of being an orphan. I even know where this feeling first began to take root in my life. I haven’t found programs or rituals that alleviate this feeling of neediness and aloneness.

Is it any wonder, with any one of these identities masking our ability to hear, understand and relate to God, that we need to completely recognize our total need to be emptied of our wrong view of ourselves? This kind of transformation can only take place in an environment where we can be fully known. Even then, letting go of the things that have deceived us from our true identity, is a daunting task. We need others who see more clearly than ourselves. We need the body of Christ to rise up to its full stature and help up is in our journey.

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