A Stolen Identity

I have had an exciting week, and I thank God for that. However, some events I experienced during the past week brought back some memories and  brought the phrase above to my mind, "A STOLEN IDENTITY."
A while ago, when I just landed in Calgary, I was on my way to work when I stumbled on a report in the Dailies about a community in Calgary where prostitution rings have taken over the neighbourhood. The report stated that Prostitutes paraded and displayed their "wares" in broad daylight and even close to elementary schools. Some neighbours attempted to inform the authority about the situation to curtail this trend and send these people away from the school vicinity. Alas, a quote in the report says there has been a response in the past that stopping the prostitute on their trade will be discriminatory. I was surprised; what is this world turning to? What about the consequence of exposing small children to this kind of living? What seed are we planting in their hearts? Does that have a place in our judgement of actions? Indeed we have exalted our right above the one who made us righteous. I used to live in the Middle East, and it is common knowledge that they refer to countries in the Western world as Christian Nations. I asked myself, am I really in a Christian Nation, or is it a case of A STOLEN IDENTITY? The devil has taken that identity away. We need to rediscover it.
That takes me to my second experience, also on a train ride to downtown Calgary; I missed those rides these days. I was commuting from work on the Train again, and the gentleman beside me was reading a book. I took more than a passing interest in the book when I saw the title of the chapter he was reading. It reads, WHO DO YOU SAY I AMI knew that question, and I was sure the book must have something to do with the scripture. I later found out that the book in question is titled ZEALOT, written by a Muslim to discredit the personality of the Lord Jesus Christ. The motive of the book and the criticism that has followed it is not my call today. I want to focus on that question The Lord asked as recorded in Mark 8:27-29.
And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.
Interestingly, that question is still relevant today. The Lord first asked the Apostle what people's impression of him was. But he then directed his question back to the Apostles themselves. That means he wants to avoid assuming they know as well, even though they have followed him all around. They may have been associated with him by the world, but they may not know him. What does this mean to us in today's world? Christianity today has become A STOLEN IDENTITY. Many celebrate Christmas, but they do not know Christ. Some have started planning this year's Christmas from the last one, but on a single day throughout the year, they never opened the Bible or went to Church. Indeed Christmas has become A STOLEN IDENTITY.
Brethren, I am not just pointing fingers at ordinary day people; I am even looking inward to the fold, those that have professed and claimed they have accepted Jesus Christ, that identity question is still very relevant. If not, the Lord will not ask his Apostles who do you say I am? We see Pastors who dwell in pride, anger, and other vices yet stand on the pulpit to preach to others. It is no longer news that Pastors supervise and encourage divorce; IT IS A STOLEN IDENTITY. Today, Gay Right has crept into the Church; we even have Gay Pastors; IT IS A STOLEN IDENTITY.
I ask myself, where did we get it wrong? When I look at the age of the majority that is not in The Lord today or does not even go to the Church, the demography shows that the more significant percentage are from age 50 downward. That tells me that something went wrong between the 1960s and 1970s with Christian Parenting. Children were not raised to appreciate and acknowledge God in their lives, and they, in turn, brought up children that have absolutely no knowledge of God. (Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it - Proverbs 22:6 KJV). It will amaze you to know how many young professionals from supposedly Christian backgrounds have never opened the Bible. Yet these people always make special plans for Christmas. IS THIS NOT A STOLEN IDENTITY? Church buildings are being bought over and converted into Pubs and, in some cases, Mosques. IS THIS NOT A STOLEN IDENTITY?
I worry that if this trend continues like this, it will come to a time, and this is in the nearest future when the mere mention of the name of God will make you an outcast anywhere (some may argue this is already happening). God is counting on every one of us that profess the faith today to act. We cannot be a spectator when the devil is taking away the identity of our Nations, our society and, indeed, our families. In order that today may not be another negative yesterday of tomorrow, we must all move to build the broken spiritual Wall that has caused the erosion of our identity. Nehemiah mobilized the people to rebuild the physical Wall and, in doing so, restored the identity of Jerusalem. We must also act to build the Spiritual Wall, to restore, safeguard and project OUR IDENTITY. Never mind if some do not join in this call; it is not unexpected. Even in the days of Nehemiah, the Bible recorded that some nobles did not join him in building the Wall ( Nehemiah 3:5).
As I end, remember what the scripture says in...2 Chronicles 7:14.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
It appears to me that we have overlooked this particular scripture. Nowadays, the Church seeks comfort from politicians to implement regulations that will prevent the decline of our treasured values. However, we have failed to remember that Christ's purpose was to address the inadequacy of laws. As humans, we have a natural inclination to rebel and disregard rules, even the Ten Commandments. This is why Christ came; to enable us to have a righteous life by transforming our hearts. We should strive not to conform to the ways of the world but instead renew our minds to live a life that is pleasing to God. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

Are we genuinely interested in making a difference? The process begins with us as we strive to raise our children in a manner that will instill values in them that will endure into adulthood. However, we cannot impart what we do not possess. We must develop a personal relationship with God, establish our identity in Christ, and become a beacon of hope for our households. Without illuminating our homes, we cannot shine our light into the world.

May The Lord restore the identity of our families, societies and nations in Jesus' name.
Pastor Toks Balogun.

1 Comment

Florence - May 8th, 2023 at 3:45pm

May the Almighty God give us the grace to stand out, as we, in all our choosing, choose not to be lost in the crowd in Jesus Name.