When a young college student said, “I believe in God but I’m not sure about Jesus, why do you believe?” the answer was already in my heart. The Bible reminds me if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it (1 Peter 3:15 NLT). So, I did.
To explain my hope in Jesus I needed to ask the young college student why she does not believe in Christ. She replied, “Other religions say that he’s a prophet and he did miracles, but I’m not sure I believe in him spiritually.” Valid answer and somewhat factual. So, I answered like a college professor.
There are presently 5,686 Greek manuscripts in existence today for the New Testament. (Norman Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakeable Foundations, Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2001, p. 256). When you compare the original New Testament manuscripts to philosopher writings of the same time, the existence of New Testament manuscripts is much greater in quantity (Norman Geisler The Big Book of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books, 2012, Kindle edition).
- Plato’s works on Socrates = 7manuscripts
- Aristotle’s manuscripts = 49 manuscripts
- New Testament= more than 5,000 manuscripts
Because of the 5000+ manuscripts and eyewitness accounts, the factual evidence for Jesus has been proven. Using these historical documents, the Bible was translated by a committee of scholars. Included in these committees are atheists and Jewish scholars, not just Christians. The manuscripts of the Bible were translated for historical accuracy.
Agreeing on the historical accuracy, the young college student then continued her interrogation.
“So, what is the benefit of being Christian?”
I replied like a woman with a heart for God.
Christ has changed my character. Without Him I would make decisions based on my needs or selfish behavior. Because I have a deep relationship with Christ, I now have the Holy Spirit in me to help me guide me. He is like a personal counselor inside my heart.
This became apparent to me the other day when I was tempted to tell a “white lie.” I was going to cancel an appointment and thought about giving excuse which was not true. Then I remembered Christ with me. So instead of telling a little white lie to avoid a consequence, I told the truth. I canceled the appointment in confidence and not shame.
Another example is when I was tempted to seek vengeance against my husband after he hurt me. The worldview position is strike justice or seek revenge. I was injured so the worldview gives me permission to injure back. Because of Christ in me (Holy Spirit Counselor) I was able to resist the desire for revenge. Instead I found peace and was not tempted to strike back and then feel shame for my actions.
Without Christ, I was tempted to hide myself in shame because of my weight. I was tempted to self-pity for things which happened to me in my past. I was tempted to identify with my victimhood rather than my victories. He healed me from spiritual identity theft.
Without Christ, there is so much pressure from the world to be afraid. Be afraid of death, be afraid of injury and pain, be afraid of rejection, be afraid of abandonment, be afraid of criticism, be afraid to fail. All these things are worldviews based on a false identity. They are crafted by Satan.
Why are they in existence? Because all these things become idols in our lives. They can cause is also to overspend money and tap our resources so that we cannot use them for good. We spend our money on self-help programs and books to overcome anxiety. We spend our money on entertainment and sporting events which tell us we should not trust God. We spend time and money on addictions, reading trashy novels about perversion, or watch movies where porn and violence are normalized. We spend our time pursing things which lead us away from God. It is pure deception. Identity theft from Satan.
With Christ in me I can see the deception. With Christ in me I can resist the deception. With Christ in me I still make mistakes, I stumble, and I picked myself up. I ask forgiveness, I repent, and I move forward step-by-step. My identity shifts from shame, fear, or anger. With Christ in me, I put on the Fruit of the Spirit and take off the fruits of the flesh (read Galatians 5:19-23).
I have more freedom with Christ in me than I do with the world in me!! Praise the LORD.
I am a Christian by choice. Not because my parents baptized me when I was a baby. Not because it is a cool thing to do… Because right now being Christian living in California is not cool. I am a Christian because I am drawn by the love of Christ. I am drawn by the protection of Christ. I am drawn by the character of Christ.
I will take the mindset of Christ (and freedom) any day over the mindset of Satan. I have worn the dirty crown of past sins and mistakes. Now I wear the Crown of royalty, adoption, and the character of Christ. The Crown of Freedom from Bondage.
How did I reclaim my identity in Christ? I studied the Bible and learned for myself the character of Christ.
You can do it too. Make a choice.
Fruit of the Flesh Compared to Fruit of the Holy Spirit Galatians 5:19-22 NLT
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
My Spiritual Identity Theft
My stolen identity began in college while attending UC Berkeley. Just like the young collage student asking the question today. Just like Phil Robertson experienced in his college years. Just like…?
Our environment imprints our identity.
As the young college student responded to Christ, her final question “What church accepts LGBT so my friends will not hate me for being a Christian?’ There it is…her identity in people. On this side of eternity she survives by imprinting with her environment. Her compassion draws her into the narrative of church rejection and wounding. I remind her of the many churches, authors, pastors, and preachers who welcome her friends into their community. All are loved by Christ, even if Satan disagrees.
The theft of her soul has begun and Christ wrestles to claim her back.
I remember being a young college student and making a wrong choice. In my heart I decided “God will always forgive me. But my friends will abandon me for my choice.” So I chose to walk away from God to please people. Pride was bigger than my faith and I lost 20 years of my life to spiritual identity theft.
- It is any wonder, God hates pride.
- Is it any wonder, Satan was tossed from Heaven because of his pride.
- Can you see identity theft is pride.
If you are not in a relationship with Christ, ask God these questions. Ask God to reveal Christ to you. Ask God to put the Spirit of Christ in you. Filter your world with Christ in you.
Today I am leading personal revivals at the Bible Cafe™ If you need to find your identity in Christ, come join our studies!