Identity theft is scary any way you look at it. But there’s one kind that trumps them all.
A few months ago, my husband and I did something I had been dreading for years. We cleaned out the attic.
Depending on your age, you may or may not know that back in the day, one was required to keep important information for a specified period of time. We found bags and bags of old bills and legal documents that had been gathered, placed in garbage bags and tossed in the attic to be forgotten.
And now it was time to deal with twenty years of them.
Instead of trying to shred them all, I decided to burn them in the backyard fire pit. Easy peasy, right? Wrong. I could see pretty immediately it was going to take a while.
I found that when paper is folded tightly and placed in an envelope, and a hundred plus envelopes are crammed together in a garbage bag and set on fire, the only thing that really burns is what is at the outskirts of the pile.
Even if the fire catches enough that it burns longer than a few minutes, it still only burns the outside because of how tightly compacted the layers are. The pile may look consumed, but when you stir it, you find that not only are all the documents not destroyed, they are still intact enough to be legible.
Unless you constantly stir the fire and let the burning take place layer by layer – as oxygen gets to each piece of paper – your identity is not safe. Once the fire goes out, all a thief has to do is pull out one of the items you thought you dealt with, read your mail and steal your identity.
Destroying all that old junk required diligence, attention and perseverance.
It took me a long time to burn those bags.
In the same way, an identity thief can snatch our information and make a mess of our finances, our spiritual enemy can creep in, steal our God-given identity and wreak havoc on our souls.
When we deal with our past only on a surface level, we really don’t deal with it at all.
Much of my life, I dealt with emotional sufferings in the same way I dealt with old financials. I stuffed them away where I didn’t have to look at or deal with them. And then the enemy did what the enemy does best; he rummaged through my stuff and stole my identity.
He’s able to lie to us well because he knows us. He has obtained our inside information. He whispers in our ear a perverted version of ourselves, our situation and our God; a little truth mixed with a whole lot of poison.
So how do we combat this? By burning all the old baggage, one layer at a time. By letting God breathe on the fire and destroy that which the enemy would use to destroy us.
It requires diligence, attention and perseverance. It takes a long time.
Often we don’t want God to stir the fire. We are living in a mess, desperate for God to clean it up, not caring if He sweeps it under the rug. We just want that thing gone. Out of sight. We know that if He stirs the fire, we have to deal with what is churned up, so we stamp down the accumulated trash and pile more on. Pretty soon we smell like old garbage.
Be willing to take a risk. Let God stir the fire. Otherwise you are left open and vulnerable.
Your enemy’s self-appointed calling in his miserable existence is to destroy yours. He does that most effectively by destroying your perception of who you are in Christ.
You are far too precious to God for Him to let that happen.
Our perception of truth and knowing who we are in Christ are the weapons we must wield to oppose the enemy that would war against us.
The burning must happen. Our eyes must be opened.
Begin to see yourself anew as a beloved son or daughter of a God who loves you beyond words. Ask Him to cut through the noise and speak the truth of your identity to you, burn away the layers of your past and give you faith to believe the right things about yourself, your situation and your God. And let God bring beauty from the ashes of what once was.