How would you feel if someone steals your identity? Stunned? Shocked? Think about it: Someone is acting recklessly and irresponsibly in your name! In your heart you are saying, “Wait a minute, that’s not me! That’s not who I am!” You wouldn’t hand your identity over to someone who would act so shamelessly in your name, would you?
But that’s what we do when we cave in to temptation and commit the same sexual sin again and again. We give our true identity—our identity in Christ—over to the one who steals it from us. The devil delights in that transaction!
One of our mantras here at Harvest USA is: “Don’t let your temptations tell you who you are!” One of the biggest faith battles men face in their struggle with sexual sin is: What is your identity in Christ? What does God see when he looks at you? The answer to these questions is critical if you want to experience freedom from sexual sin!
The Bible teaches that Christ endured the cross for the “joy set before Him” (Heb. 12:2). Do you want to know what that joy was? It was you! Paul called the people in the churches that he ministered to, his “joy and crown;” you think he would think of them like that if God thought of them otherwise? (Check out Philippians 4:1 and 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20). Has it sunk in that Jesus himself calls us his brothers (Hebrews 2:11), to those of us who desperately cling to him and trust in his saving mercy and grace?
You are new creatures in Christ! You have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. Your sins are forgiven and you have a living hope that when Christ comes you will appear with Him in glory! You have a new nature, a new heart and a new start. You’ve been born again! This is your new identity! Start believing it!
One way to begin getting this to sink in deeply, is to find others who will see you as you are in Christ. God makes himself real through his people. When someone treats you like he really believes God loves you, you begin to start thinking “maybe God does really love me.” And that’s powerful!
What do you see when you look at other Christians? Do you see sin in their lives? That’s easy to see. But do you also see God’s grace working in them? Now, that takes faith. But it’s there, even in their struggles and failures. That’s true for you, too. That’s part of our identity in Christ. We are people whom God has started a good work in and will continue to the end (Phil. 1:6).
I know it’s hard to believe you are a new creature in Christ if you keep on sinning, but let me let you in on a little secret. Every single Christian out there does keep on sinning! I know it’s hard to go to church and feel like you are the only sinner in the room but believe me, that is just not true. One reason I love working at Harvest USA is because no one walks through the doors here thinking they have it all together. I wish going to church was that way.
What helps you hold on to your identity in Christ when you are in the midst of sexual temptations and sin?