“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

According to the Center for Victim Research, 7-10% of the U.S. population are victims of identity fraud each year.1 Identity theft runs rampant in today’s high-tech cyber world, where it is so easy for strangers to invade our privacy and get rich off of our love of convenience and time-saving digital gadgets.

The same is true regarding aspects of our spiritual lives—except the culprit is often within ourselves. Getting hooked on worldly temptations (such as entertainment, social media, celebrities, pleasure, and possessions) is easy. While not seemingly spiritual, we can become dependent on any one of these things, effectively altering our relationship with God.

Unlike the idols of biblical times or other religions, present-day idols are more obscure and subtle yet much closer than we think. In Evangelical Magazine (March/April 2021), Pastor Philip Swann writes:

Idols come from inside of us, from our hearts… a symptom of spiritual heart disease. Anything may become an idol, but usually it is ourselves and our longings for satisfaction and love. In doing this, we make ourselves god and shut out the living God (p. 16).

The idols that invade our hearts also invade our privacy and steal our identity—the innate identity given to us by God.

When we allow someone or something other than God to etch out a place in our hearts, it enamors us. It creates a bond. When we look to it for gratification and approval, it begins to have control over us. It gets under our skin until we identify it as part of our self. But it is not part of us nor part of our purpose. It convinces us that it is part of our identity, that it “belongs” to us … but the exact opposite is true.

Whatever “it” is becomes the controller—influencing our daily life as if it belongs there. But only God belongs there. In our heart of hearts, we know He is the only One who truly has our well-being in mind. Why? Because He is our Creator. Everything else is His creation; everything He creates is below Him. Only He is worthy of our worship.

Our Creator gave us this commandment through Moses: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Our Savior echoed this directive when He said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). The word “all” is a challenge to prioritize Him above everything He has created.

Jesus gives us eyes to see—to recognize fraudulent creations that mimic importance by laying claim to our identity. Don’t let the enemy devour the uniqueness God gave you. Don’t let him eat away at who God intended you to be. Love the Lord your God and revere Him; reflect and resemble Jesus in how you live; allow the Spirit to restore your true identity.

by RJ Flower-Opdycke, Co-editor


1Rob Douglas. “2020 Identity Theft Statistics.” Consumer Affairs. Last Updated 04/27/2021.