The weeks leading up to Christmas are busy for most everybody, whether it’s preparing extra services (hello, preachers!) or going to celebratory gatherings or buying the right gifts for people we love.
And in the retail world, especially online, it’s a busy time for fraudsters. We know of this personally in our house.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife’s Amazon account became inaccessible. It turns out that someone had successfully guessed her password, turned on two-factor authentication to his or her phone, and then made some fairly big purchases. We only found this out when we called the credit card company to cancel the card and re-issue it; the outstanding balance on the card was A LOT higher than we ever keep it.
After several days and several calls, the issue seems to be resolved with both Amazon and the credit card company, but the challenge my wife had with this whole ordeal was being able to verify her identity – something that we always have to do when dealing on the phone with any number of organizations.
Whether it’s through passwords or verification texts or multi-digit codes or one’s mother’s maiden name or what-have-you, the ways in which we must verify who we are can be confusing, as necessary as these things are (and, in the end, they’re not always tamper-proof). Isn’t it good to know, then, that there is one iron-clad aspect to our identity that can’t be messed with?
For followers of Jesus, that’s our identity in Christ.
Identity has become a big buzzword nowadays, not just in terms of commerce, but in terms of nationality, sexuality, pronouns, vocation, and countless other things. It can be quite confusing, especially for those who are particular about it. But for people of The Way, for Christians, there is only one aspect of identity that really counts: we belong to Jesus.
And the really good news is that this identity cannot be stolen from us. It is given by the Father, and he will not take it away.
If there is any two-factor authentication for our identity in Christ, it’s in how we live.
We don’t engage in good works to earn our identity in Christ; that’s given to us. It’s all grace. But we can prove our identity in Christ by what we do.
Whether it’s offering a kind word to the person who serves you coffee, or shovelling a neighbour’s driveway, or inviting a lonely friend for a meal – the possibilities are endless – we prove our identity as followers of Jesus by what we do, by how we live.
So make sure you have two-factor authentication turned on so you can verify your identity as one who belongs to Jesus.
“[L]et your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5.16b, NLT).