We live in a society that demands we know who we are. This demand is often driven by demonic forces bent on destroying lives. The devil knows that if we don’t know who we are, he can use culture to turn us into people, God never intended us to be. Without an identity rooted in God, we are ships without rudders and anchors, buildings without foundation. We are vulnerable to the winds of the times, blowing us to one philosophy after another, looking for answers only God can give. The devil will do everything he can to use words and images to twist and distort any resemblance of God’s design.
Our society right now is a mirror of life without Jesus: anxious, overwhelmed, offended all the time, fearful of the future, weak, twisted and bent, looking for answers to the pains of life, but finding none. The question is, do we want to be like them—hopeless, fearful, empty?
The Bible is not just a good book. It is the book for the human race; it is the handbook for how to live life. The Bible is inspired by God without error; it is infallible. And the Bible is predominantly a book of identity before the behavior. Religious traditions—tools the devil can use—flip this around. The bondage of religious requirements, demanding behavior change before heart change, only increases the load of condemnation. God never intended this because He knows that real change comes by working on our hearts, and then our personalities and identities. If our personalities and character are not fixed, we won’t know who we are, won’t have power in the kingdom, and the miracles He wants us to work won’t come to pass.
Our hearts, personalities, and identities are essential to God. He is at work, right now, healing and restoring all three so we can walk in the dynamic power of His word. I know the power of the word of God from experience. In Acts chapter nineteen, God showed me an explosive Biblical reality regarding our identities which changed my life forever. My prayer is that it will do the same for you as well.
Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed (Acts 19:11-20).
This passage shows us a fundamental principle about how life works: we have to know who we are in Christ to have power in life. The supernatural world is real, whether culture or philosophers or scientists believe it is or not. We can’t get around the fact there are demonic forces at work in the world today. God wants us to be ready and able to fight these forces. A large part of that is knowing our identity in Christ.
The demons in Acts chapter nineteen asked who the sons of Sceva were, but the sons of Sceva had no answer. They had built their lives on someone else’s identity—Paul’s character—and not on the word of God and what Jesus had done for them. We will get into trouble if we don’t know who we are and where we are going in this life. The sons of Sceva didn’t know, and they paid.