Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mistaken Identity

Recently I watched a riveting true story on television about a horrific accident involving drivers and passengers of two vehicles. The impact of the crash was so magnficant that bodies recovered from the scene were unrecognizable. One young woman who was fighting for her life became wrongfully identified as one of the deceased. The identity of two girls became switched in a moment, and due to the extent of injuries, bandages, and medical equipment sustaining her life, even her family didn't immediately realize the mistake that had innocently been made. When the discovery became apparent, the two families faced unexpected news. The one family who had buried the girl they thought was their daughter received her back, as if from the grave. The other family who had been keeping round-the-clock vigil at a hospital bedside discovered they had been sitting with a stranger. They had missed their own daughter's funeral. A case of mistaken identity.

It's quite familiar for me, any day, to be incorrectly perceived as another. Being an identical twin, living within several miles of my sister, it is common for me to be addressed by my sister's name while out and about, especially by folks who do not know either of us well. I am quite accustomed to this as being part of my life.

Sometimes I am out with my son and we meet a friend we haven't seen in a long while. Usually without fail, at some point early in the conversation, this person will turn to my son and say, "Oh there's no denying whose child you are - you look exactly like your mother'. Now, whether or not this is a compliment for an almost 16 year old boy (12 more days until he reaches this milestone!), it does speak of family resemblance.

It makes me wonder, as a child of the King, how well do I resemble my Heavenly Father? When others look at me what do they see? God's Word says in Isaiah that Christ had no beauty or majesty that would attract us to Him. Nothing in His appearance that we would be drawn to Him. It wasn't outward appearance that drew people to Him. So unlike our culture today always striving for outward beauty. It's wasn't outward appearance, but inner character.

I ask myself: Do I bear any obvious resemblance to Christ's character? Do my eyes seek out the lonely? Do my hands reach out and touch and bring His healing and love to hurting lives? Do my words encourage and strengthen? Do my ears listen with His compassion? Does my countenance reflect His glory? When people look at me what do they see. Whose identity to they see? How clear is my reflection of Christ to the poeple I come in contact with each day? It's been asked if you were arrested and placed on trial for being a Christian would there be enough evidence against you to convict you? Would I be identified as Christ's? Going even a step further, am I willing to be identified as Christ's and with Christ?

Peter ran from this identity when questioned at the time of Christ's arrest. He was frightened of how being identified with Christ would affect his life. Would he too be arrested? Would he be scorned, rejected, despised, beaten? Would following Christ demand his life? How far would identity with Christ take him? To the cross? Could he travel all that way? Would he be willing to pay the price, endure the loss, face the criticism, accept the death of his dreams, plans and desires and be crucified with Christ? Identity with Christ may take all of us down some very trying roads here in this life, but it takes us all the way to eternity in death. God's Word says that if we are ashamed to confess Him before man, He will not confess us before His Father in heaven. Matthew 10:33 "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Can you really afford to forego the shame now in exchange for an eternity without Him?

How does this apply to us practically? It means bowing my head to ask a blessing in a restaurant. It means not being afraid to share a testimony of God's goodness in my life when an opportunity arises. It means saying no to going to the theatre or renting that movie that warns of Christ's name being spoken in vain. You'll know the times. It's whenever your heart is beating faster and the palms of your hands begin to perspire. You sense God's Holy Spirit prompting you to take a stand and be identified as a Christ-follower. Will you?

On the other hand, there is never a case of mistaken identity with Christ. Even as an identical twin, God never confuses me with my sister. He knows the number of hairs on my head and as a believer, my identity in Christ is sealed. Ephesians 1:3-8 tells me that I am blessed, loved, chosen, adopted, favoured, redeemed and forgiven. Through receiving Him as my Lord and Savior, I am a dearly loved child of Almighty God and no-one can take that identity away from me. It can't be stolen, but the way I live my life can allow it to go unnoticed or mistaken.

I'm praying today that each word, each deed, each glance points to the One who gives significance to each moment. My identity, my only identity, comes from Christ. Without Him I am nothing.

Be sure to check out my new devotional blog at Pondering in His Presence.

13 comments:

Regina said...

That too is my prayer. I have known people who looked and acted so much like their Father that I wanted to be around them all the time. There is something contagious and compelling about resembling Him.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope that you visit again.

Karey said...

One of the students that passed in that crash was a friend of ours. We started attending their church when she was 5. I taught VBS for her class that yr. Her father was our doctor and we were at their house many times. They are a great family and one that walks the walk. Just so happens she and I shared the same birthday, so every year I would send her a card. It was a shock to hear the news of the accident. She was to graduate that year and was going to the mission field. Pray for her family. Their other daughters attend the same college. And she is greatly missed.

Catherine said...

Praying that daily we will be a reflection of Him. Seeking Him and learning all we can.

I saw these 2 precious families interviewed earlier this spring. Their testimony of God's faithfulness as they each dealt with such challenging times was amazing. Truly, they were reflecting God's love to all who would listen. Praying that people see that in me too.

Dineen A. Miller said...

Hi Joy,
Thank you for you comment over at Kittens Come From Eggs. I'm so glad to hear such good things about Stepping Up. I hated to miss doing it with my women's group, but I needed to homeschool my daughter this year. Can't wait to jump into another Beth Moore study!

Blessings!

Kristen Schiffman said...

Oh this Mistaken Identity story has broken my heart for a few months now- and urged me on in my faith as I listened to the faith of these families.

Thank you for visiting my blog! Come back soon.

luvmy4sons said...

Yes! I too want to be associated with Jesus-like his indentical twin. For me it has been a blessing to come to terms with the fact that on this earth I will never quite be there...but to accept the journey of sanctification and trust Him to complete the work He has begun in me while just tyring to draw closer and closer to Him...'cause in drawing closer and closer to Him I will then become more and more like Him. I like your analogy here. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love having Christian women to commiserate and compare notes wtih. I don't feel so alone! LOL!

Yolanda said...

Joy:

Your writing this morning, has left God-skin all over my body. Oh, how I wished you and I lived across the street from one another, we would take up a cup of hot tea and share it with the stranger on the street.

This is, truly my hearts cry, and you wrote it well Sister, well!

Love,
Yolanda

Lysa TerKeurst said...

Beautiful post Joy.

Can't wait to see you in less than 3 weeks! Remember we'll be praying you here and praying you home.

Sweet Blessings!
Lysa

Marilyn said...

Oh my dear Friend! God really has His hand on your writing! Especially lately I have been so touched by what you have written. I "envy"....in a good way....what the Spirit is doing in your life.

May God bless you !!

Marilyn

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I keep thinking about the old campfire song of my youth...

"And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they'll know we are Christians by our love."

I think that's the ticket...Love. The Apostle John devoted a lot of ink to love. Christ knew we couldn't do it without the empowering of his Holy Spirit. And tonight, I wonder if Christ's love is alive and active in me. That's my prayer. Has been for a long season because I know that on my best day, it's usually all about me.

Without the invasion of God's love, I remain a big pile of flesh.

Thanks for sharing, Joy. You're going to give me a workout with two blogs, now!!!

peace~elaine

tiggerdaisy said...

What a beautiful post, Joy! You have shared a wonderful message! I especially like the questions you ask yourself about your resemblance to Christ. You have made me stop and think...thanks!

Prayers and Blessings!
Rebecca

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

It reminds me of that old Amy Grant song, My Father's Eyes. I love the words!

I am popping over to meet fellow she-speakers, hope to see you there!

:) Missy

Chatty Kelly said...

I loved this posting. I'll bet its really neat to have an idential twin. But to have someone tell you that you look 'like Jesus' would be the ultimate. What a great analogy. Thanks!