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How​​ Did We Get into This Mess?​​ (Part 1)​​ 


At age 24, a Missouri man, Richard Jones, was locked up in prison for aggravated robbery in Kansas City. He was convicted of attempting to steal a woman’s purse, which resulted in a 19-year prison sentence. It seems that his conviction was largely based on the testimony of two eyewitnesses. After serving 17 years of his sentence, Mr. Jones was released from prison. Why? New evidence was discovered that set Mr. Jones free from his bondage. The evidence – it was a case of mistaken​​ identity​​ -​​ read the story here.​​ 

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Just as Richard Jones suffered​​ from a case​​ of​​ mistaken identity, so do many Christians. We simply don’t know who we really are.​​ I believe you will find it​​ liberating​​ to understand​​ the truth about​​ how we have become deceived into believing​​ that​​ we are someone we are not.​​ 


Back to the Beginning


It all began with the first man and woman on planet​​ Earth, Adam and Eve​​ (A/E). God created them in his own image, blessed them,​​ and gave them dominion over all the earth.​​ A/E​​ were children of God, created in his image, and that was their identity.​​ He placed​​ them​​ in a​​ delightful garden​​ to fulfill their God-given purpose.​​ He​​ was their source​​ for​​ life as well as​​ for​​ everything else they needed.​​ 


Two Trees in the Garden


Among the many trees in this garden, God called Adam’s attention to two particular ones, the tree of life and the​​ tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told him he could freely eat from the tree of life, but not to eat from the​​ tree of the knowledge of good and evil,​​ for in the day he did, he​​ would​​ surely die. This was a warning from a loving Father, not a threat of punishment for disobedience.​​ Death​​ was​​ simply a consequence of eating from the forbidden tree.​​ 


Nonetheless,​​ A/E​​ chose​​ to believe the cunning serpent who was lurking in the garden, rather than to believe their loving Father​​ and thus, they ate​​ from the forbidden tree.​​ 


Satan’s Scheme​​ in the Garden


Satan​​ was​​ in​​ the​​ garden​​ and he had a plan. He​​ first attacked God by implying he was a liar and that he was withholding something​​ from​​ A/E. Said another way, A/E were missing something they​​ needed​​ to be complete.​​ To imply​​ that​​ A/E were missing something was a​​ subtle​​ attack on their identity, i.e., there was something wrong with them.​​ Remember, your identity has to do with your value as a human being.

But Satan always offers us a reasonable alternative to trusting God. He suggested that if they would eat from the forbidden tree (do something), they would be like God.​​ Wow, who could pass up such a deal! Truth is, they were already like God. They were created in his image! ​​ 


Satan​​ Loves to​​ Attack​​ Our​​ Identity (our value)​​ 


Satan​​ tempts us to gain an identity by our “doing”.​​ He​​ did the same thing with​​ Jesus in the wilderness​​ and​​ then again when Jesus was on the cross.


Immediately after Jesus​​ had been​​ baptized​​ and​​ declared​​ by​​ his Heavenly Father to be his beloved Son,​​ he was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. After a forty-day fast, Satan began to attack the identity of Jesus. Twice he began his attack with the words, “If you are the Son of God, …”, then gave Jesus something to do to prove​​ who he was.​​ Jesus knew the truth about his identity​​ and therefore,​​ Satan’s attacks failed.​​ See if you can discover Satan’s attacks on Jesus’ identity while on the cross –​​ Luke 23.​​ 


How Does Satan Attack Our Identity Today?


His​​ schemes have not changed.​​ He still sends subtle messages to us​​ that cause us to think there is something wrong with us. He loves to get us to compare ourselves with others. We’re bombarded​​ via​​ the​​ internet, TV, magazines, etc.​​ with​​ pictures and stories of beautiful people, successful people,​​ people who,​​ from the world’s perspective,​​ seem to have it all...​​ and,​​ have​​ it all together​​ (but they don’t).​​ 

He also sends messages​​ to us through significant people​​ in​​ our lives – especially our parents when we are young and our spouses when we get older.​​ 

Parents,​​ choose your words wisely.​​ If you​​ tell your kids they’ll never amount to anything,​​ or that they can’t do anything right,​​ or that they’re stupid,​​ you’re sending them Satan’s message of​​ shame and guilt.​​ 

Husbands and wives,​​ watch out when you​​ compare your spouse with someone else.​​ When you do,​​ you’re sending​​ Satan’s​​ message that your spouse doesn’t measure up, i.e.,​​ they’re missing something they need​​ in order​​ to be a​​ “good”​​ husband or wife.

And furthermore, don’t let other people tell you who you are.​​ Most of them are still trying to figure out who they are!​​ Only your​​ Heavenly Father can correctly tell you your true identity.​​ Listen to him.​​ 

Ask yourself (and God) –​​ How do I respond when my identity (value) is attacked?


Remember -​​ When​​ you​​ know the truth about​​ your identity and stand firm in that truth, Satan’s attacks against​​ you​​ will fail!


My Struggle​​ ​​ When I feel​​ “devalued”, I often get defensive,​​ and​​ angry and say things I shouldn’t say.​​ When​​ I find myself in​​ these situations,​​ I’m learning​​ to stop and ask the Lord,​​ “Who do YOU say that I am?”​​ And he reminds me.​​ 


Scripture References​​ –​​ Genesis 1-3;​​ Mat. 4:​​ Luke 4;​​ 23; John 8:32; Revelation 12:9.



Back​​ Next​​ – How​​ Did We Get in This Mess?​​ (Part 2)