What Is Your Secret Identity?

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When I ask a fellow Christian, what is your Secret Identity? I don’t mean to ask them about their superhero alter ego… although now that I think about it, there are some similarities. No, what I am referring to is their True Identity in Jesus Christ. You see most Christians have no idea what I am talking about. In fact, many… many… Christians go through life believing lies that conceal their true identity.

Here is a sample of some of the lies I am referring to:

  • No one loves me
  • God doesn’t love me
  • God is distant
  • God doesn’t hear my prayers
  • God is not there when I need him the most
  • I am a horrible person
  • I have destroyed everything in my life
  • I am guilty
  • I am not worthy of God’s love or forgiveness
  • I am not saved
  • I keep sinning the same way, I was never truly saved
  • God could never love someone like me
  • God hates me
  • Live isn’t worth living
  • It would be better for everyone, if I was dead
  • I cannot endure my life

And that is just a small sample, believe me I could spend hours creating a list that would take a LONG time just to read through. And where do you think those lies come from? Who is called the Father of Lies? Who specializes in deception and devious schemes to achieve his goals? Who prowls around like a roaring Lion looking for someone to devour? I think you know the answer (Hint: John 8:44, 1 John 3:8, 1 Peter 5:8).

More importantly, let me ask you this, what effect do you think believing those lies will have on a Christian’s life? Do you think a Christian who accepts these lies as truth can really live in the Joy of his salvation? Do think his testimony will plant seeds in others? Do you think he will live a life fulfilled with God’s love and purpose?

Living a life where you believe the lies of the enemy over the TRUTH revealed in Holy Scripture will place you in bondage to the enemy. You will be chained to these lies which could have horrible lasting effects in your life. This bondage can take on many forms:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irrational Fears
  • Physical Infirmity
  • Demonic Nightmares
  • Hearing Voices
  • Repeated Habitual Sin
  • Living a Secret Life of Sin
  • and many more

In our modern world there are medical terms and prescription drugs that address the symptoms of nearly everything on this list. This is where the enemy has made great strides, especially in America. Convincing the world that the spiritual realm does not exist goes a long way towards pushing God out of our culture all together.

prescription drugs
Here lies the answer to most problems in the secular world.

As Christians however we need to be more discerning. We need to see through the lies of the devil and embrace the TRUTH in Jesus Christ. Here are some TRUTH statements we can find in scripture concerning Born-Again Christians, how do these statements align with how you FEEL about yourself and your life?

  • God LOVES You. Romans 5:8, John 3:16, Romans 8:38-39
  • You are NEVER alone. Matthew 28:20, 1 Samuel 12:22, Isaiah 41:10
  • God HEARS your prayers. Matthew 7:7-8, John 14:13, Matthew 21:22
  • God is there when TROUBLE hits your life. Nahum 1:7, Psalm 138:7, Isaiah 43:2
  • You are NOT GUILTY in God’s Eyes. Romans 8:1, Psalm 103:10-12, John 5:24
  • You ARE WORTHY of God’s Love. Jeremiah 1:5, Matthew 10:30, Galatians 3:26
  • Life is a WONDERFUL GIFT from God. Psalm 118:24, Psalm 107:9, Jeremiah 31:14
  • You can ENDURE all through Christ. Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 40:31, Isaiah 41:10
  • God needs you, he has WORK for you. Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

So the first step in revealing your TRUE IDENTITY is to exchange the lies of the devil with the TRUTH in Jesus Christ. No one can do this for you, this is a conscious decision you have to make.

“You MUST understand, the ONLY power the devil has over your life,
is the power YOU GIVE HIM.” – K

Did you know that you can choose to be happy or sad? Angry or calm? Peaceful or afraid? Your emotional reaction to life is completely under your control. Now, you may be thinking “Keith, you are crazy! When sad things happen, of course I am going to get sad, it’s called being human”. Don’t get me wrong, tragedies can strike our lives at a moments notice and emotion can come over us like a flood. But how we react in that tragedy or in that storm is not predetermined by our human nature.

I have a friend that has suffered with anger issues his whole life, and one day he expressed how out of control he gets when he is angry. After he shared, I looked him in the eye and told him he doesn’t get out of control. He is only using that as an excuse so he can avoid the responsibility that is his alone… to make a change in the way he thinks and ultimately acts. Ironically this upset him, but before we went further I asked him a simple question. Was there anyone at all in his life that he could not get angry with? He stated his young daughter had never seen him angry. Then I asked him about our Pastor, could he see himself flying into a fit of rage in front of our Pastor and he quickly said no. Then I pointed out to him how he DOES have control over his anger, when he wants to. He simply needs to choose not to be angry. Since that day, he has reported on a few occasions on how he rarely loses his temper… and when I see this man,  I see a man growing in Christ more each day.

Changing our own minds is one of the most important and sometimes difficult things we can ever do. We have been thinking and believing a certain way our whole lives. The devil of course has been helping us along the way, feeding our minds with all sorts of negative, depressing, sad, hateful and miserable thoughts. The world is no better in its messaging, and most people we come in contact with are suffering in their own darkness. Just turn on the news for five minutes and you will understand what I mean.

This is where you have to make a conscious choice in your life. Continue in bondage to the enemy and their lies or accept the TRUTH, believe it in your heart, and start living each day with a renewed mind.

You my dear brother or sister are a CHILD OF GOD! He loves you beyond measure and He has given you ALL AUTHORITY over the dark spiritual forces of the world. It is time right now to EMBRACE all that God has created you to BE.

Lift your head up child, you have been adopted into the royal family of GOD. Depression, sadness, despair, anxiety, confusion, fear, panic, trepidation… these are not for you.

Power, strength, confidence, joy, peace, fulfillment, eternal love…these are your inheritance. Will you accept them?

I pray you do.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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Living a Secret Life of Sin?

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Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash

Have you ever known someone who was living a life of secret sin? Maybe someone you read about in a news story, maybe it was someone in your life, like a church or work friend, maybe it was someone very close to you like a spouse or child… or maybe even closer yet, maybe it was you? You may know, from seeing these things unfold, how destructive a secret life of sin can be… you may have suffered from discovering your loved one was living this life or you may be on the other side, living in secret sin right now.

Whatever reason you have for reading this article it is my hope you will find some words of encouragement that can help you through a season of hidden sin… either in your own life or someone else’s.

Before we go any further, I have a confession… or more accurately a testimony.

In June of 2016 I was taken to the emergency room after having a nervous breakdown at my job, a job I have hated for nearly 13 years. That night I nearly had a stroke with blood pressure that was through the roof… my weight had ballooned to over 340lbs. A few weeks later  I had to confess to my Pastor and men’s group that I was secretly watching pornography while lying to everyone I know.

I was living a secret life of sin, and it nearly destroyed me and everything important in my life. The only reason I sit here, writing this article, is by the sheer grace of my God and savior Jesus Christ. In the past 11 months he has restored my life and elevated me to higher levels spiritually than I have ever been. For the first time in nearly 30 years I enjoy going to work each day (yes the same job). I have lost over 20lbs on my way to a healthy weight of 220lbs. My leadership position in the church has been restored as I co-lead the men’s group and lead a safety and security team. But most importantly my marriage is ascending to new levels every day.

Most of my life I lived in secret sin, I didn’t know it for most of those years, because I only came to  know Jesus 10 years ago… but even as a non-believer I lived a lie. My thoughts and actions filled with lust and hatred… no one knew about my secret addiction to pornography. This addiction took hold of me when I was very young, maybe 10 years old. I remember sneaking into a neighbor’s house when they went to work and finding an unmarked black VHS tape by the TV. To this day I can recall the pornographic images on that tape with great clarity If I allow my mind to go there. Even at that age I knew what I was looking at was wrong, and something I wanted to hide from others.

Hiding, secrecy, lies… these are parts of my life I became very skilled at, but over time I realize now how absolutely exhausting it is to live that double life. To keep up with all the lies and deception at every turn, lies create more lies and pretty soon you forget what you told everybody.

Today I live a completely open life. All of my past sins have been confessed to God and other trusted believers (James 5:16), and I live each day in the Grace and Forgiveness of God. Having lived the double-minded life, with one foot in the world and one foot in the church… and living now with a clear conscience, I can tell you how much better life is when you leave your hidden sin behind.

Do you have hidden sin in your life?

This section of the article is written specifically for you if you answered yes to that question. You must understand it is only a matter of time, before your sin is revealed (Luke 12:2, Numbers 32:23, Proverbs 26:26). You have a choice to make, and I urge you to make the right choice… RIGHT NOW.

If you continue in your sin, I promise you that nothing but death and destruction await you (James 1:14-15, Proverbs 13:6, Romans 6:23, Proverbs 14:12). As you read my testimony above I hope you understand that your entire life can be shattered by sin, from your marriage and family to your health, career and finances.

Probably the most popular verse on the double-minded life is Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. ~ESV

When this verse talks about two masters, it is not just referring to money, it is applicable to any area of bondage in your life… pornography, drugs, alcohol or gambling for example. There are many real consequences to living in continual hidden sin you need to be aware of:

  1. Your prayers are hindered when you live a life of sin (Isaiah 59:2, Psalm 66:18). You effectively cut yourself off from God.
  2. Sin will cause you to fall into deeper and darker sin. Very much like a drug addiction, sin will soon lose its luster and it will take MORE to satisfy your fleshly desire for sinful pleasure. This will lead to riskier and more deadly behavior.
  3. Others in your life will be harmed by your sin. The far reaching effects of sin can never be understated. You will never know how far reaching your sinful activities effect others… but take my word for it… the circle of destruction you create with your sin is vast.
  4. Your light will be dimmed. As Christians were are called to be the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16) and we are armed with two weapons, the Word of God and our Testimony. When others around you discover your hidden sin, your light is all but blown out.
  5. Eventually it will kill you (Romans 6:23).

So what is the way out?

First and foremost you must understand there is only one path forward to escape this vicious cycle of sin you have created. You must surrender your life to Jesus Christ and this begins with your mind. You might be thinking, “I am a Christian I already gave my life to Christ…” but I am not talking about asking Christ into your life, I am talking about  a total surrender. Right now you are fighting every day to keep your sin hidden from others, you are living a life of lies and deceit that never seems to end. You are going through life for YOU YOU YOU. All of the sin you pursue is for your own pleasure or escapism, all of your lies are to protect a world you have fabricated. Your pride keeps you thinking you have it all under control, that you can stop anytime you feel like it.

But I have news for you… you are in big trouble.

Look back in time to your past sin. Do you remember how short-lived the pleasure of that sin was? Do you remember how painful it was to everyone when you got caught doing it? How much damage you caused? Below is a chart that illustrates the contrast between the pleasure sin provides versus the consequences it rains down on your life:

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Pleasure vs. The Consequences of Sin.

It seems so illogical to take part in a sinful activity, when you have a clear understanding of the pain and destruction it will bring… and yet we still chase after it… why?!

Proverbs 18:1 provides the answer: “A man who isolates himself, seeks his own desire. He rages against all wise judgement.”

That sounds a lot like you right? You have isolated yourself, at least when you are lost in sin. You are seeking your own selfish fleshly desires and wise judgement goes right out the window. This is probably the single biggest obstacle for Co-dependents to overcome… how their loved one could willingly and knowingly partake in behavior that is so destructive.

What does it mean to surrender?

My friend Johnny is a professional boxer. He has grown up his whole life with a sword in his hand, fighting his way through all of the tough times, climbing on his own power. Trying everything he can to elevate his life to new levels. In the world of boxing to surrender means defeat, throwing in the towel, waving the white flag, giving up. God’s Word teaches us that surrender is the only pathway to final and eternal victory, in fact it is that same surrender that will give you true joy and fulfillment in life. Money will never give you victory in life, possessions will pass away with time and few human relationships will weather the storms of your journey.

You must come to a place in your life where you finally understand that doing life your way is not working… you need to surrender. Stop trying to control everything, get on your knees wherever you are and cry out to God right now!

Don’t know what to say? Try this prayer for starters:

Father God in Heaven, I beg of you, I plead with you to take me as I am, to take control of my life from this point on. Father I have tried to live life on my terms, I have tried to hold onto every decision in my life and yes Father I have been living a life of hidden sin. Father, thank you for the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ on that cross. Thank you for being the God of second, third and fourth chances. Thank you for always loving me and never turning your back on me, even as I walked away from you. Today is the day Father, the day that I truly surrender to your will in my life. Please Father forgive me for my sins (name your sins specifically) and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Look into my heart Father and know that I no longer want to hide anything from you, please use me to build your kingdom as you see fit. I pray all of these things in the mighty name of your Son, our King of Kings, the name above all names… Jesus Christ. Amen.

This is a good start, but now you need to bring your sins to the light. If you are in a leadership position in your local church, you need to set up a meeting with your Pastor as soon as possible and open up your hidden sin. Next you need to find a safe environment where you can share with other Christians what you are struggling with. For me this vehicle was Celebrate Recovery, which is a Christ-centered 12 step program designed to help anyone who’s life is spiraling out of control in sin.

If you don’t have an official Celebrate Recovery group near you, ask your church what support groups are in the area. They will probably have many resources for you to explore. Confessing your sins to another human is a critical element to your healing process (James 5:16) and one that cannot be overlooked. But please note, you must be discerning about who you share with. If your sharing causes injury in someone else, then don’t share with that person! That is the great aspect of Celebrate Recovery, the men or women you share with are people you probably don’t know, and if you do know them, they have their own struggles. You must feel safe sharing with these people, and know you won’t be judged by anyone in the group.

Now that you have cried out to God, brought your hidden sin to light and confessed your sin, it is time to focus on your relationship with Jesus Christ. There are Four Pillars that make up the Christian Faith and by spending time building these Four Pillars in your life you will create a strong foundation on the Truth that is Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

The Four Pillars:

  1. Prayer. John 16:24.
  2. Word of God. Hebrews 4:12.
  3. Fellowship. Ephesians 2:19-22.
  4. Service. Matthew 5:16.

When you deepen your faith, focus on building your relationship with Jesus Christ and live every day for Him… the urge to sin will lessen over time. You will begin feeding your spiritual nature and starving your flesh. As your spirit grows stronger, your resistance to temptation grows stronger as well. This is not to say you will ever be free of temptation, because this side of Heaven you will never be free… even Jesus himself was tempted (Luke 4:1-2). But you can have victory over temptation just as Jesus did… and each small victory will build upon the last. Part of that surrender is living life one day, even one step at a time. Tomorrow will worry about itself (Matthew 6:34), so why worry about something you cannot control?

I will close with this final thought, actually a quote:

“How can the past and future be, when the past no longer is, and the future is not yet? As for the present, if it were always present and never moved on to become the past, it would not be time, but eternity.”― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions   

Maybe we should all be a little more “eternity-minded”.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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