How Demons are Identity Thieves
How Demons are Identity Thieves (1)
“The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, my paraphrase)
Let’s take the issue of sexual immorality. Sexual immorality is any sexual practice, preference, indulgence, or habit that differs from what the Creator created sex to be. God, who created sex, is not a “cosmic killjoy” but a giver of life and of everything that is good, satisfying, enriching, healthy, and fulfilling. However, the kingdom of darkness (evil or demon spirits) want us to be miserable.
They are really the cosmic killjoys, but they want to deceive us into believing that God is the cosmic killjoy. God’s commandments or prohibitions against sex outside the marriage covenant of one man and one woman proceed from His heart of love for every person’s ultimate joy, pleasure, protection, provision, peace, security, benefit, and happiness. However, evil spirits tempt the human race with counterfeits that seem and feel right to us, but that long-term lead to death, dis-ease, disease, frustration, relational tension, breakup, depression, guilt, shame, condemnation, fear, etc.
How do these evil spirits or tempters function as identity thieves? God will command His children things like “Do not eat from this tree;” “you shall not commit adultery;” “whoever looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart;” “put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, lust, impurity, evil desires…;” “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality,” etc. (my paraphrasing). See Genesis 2:16-17, Exodus 20:14, Matthew 5:27, Colossians 3:5, Ephesians 5:3ff, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, etc.
Evil spirits will whisper thoughts in our minds that such commandments are impossible for us to obey by the power of God. While God wants us to believe that we are loved, cherished, significant, and important to Him, demons will plant thoughts to make us feel guilty, ashamed, dirty, powerless, depressed, rejected, abandoned, afraid, etc. We have to choose whether we will be empowered by God by believing His commands and promises, or whether we will make excuses, be passive, not take every thought captive in obedience to Christ, not repent (change our attitude about sin), and choose disobedience. See Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Deuteronomy 30:19, Mark 1:15, Hebrews 5:14f, etc.
If we choose disobedience repeatedly, or find ourselves stuck in a habit of sexual sin that we can’t seem to break, we may be sorely tempted to give in and give up, thinking “What’s the point?” At this stage, the sexual divergence from God’s plan will become ingrained in who we perceive ourselves to be at a core level of identity. Sexual sin won’t merely be something we do, but might become so irresistible or near and dear to our hearts that it feels that a particular sexual practice or preference defines who we are. The identity thief has then successfully entrenched himself into our intellect, will, and emotions (or souls). Our beliefs, thinking patterns and perspectives, choices, and feelings have then conformed completely to the way that seems right to a man but in the end leads to disconnectedness in our relationships with God, others, and ourselves--a relational deadening. See Proverbs 14:12; 16:25; 2 Timothy 2:22-26.
At that stage of having our minds completely conformed to the value system of the world (or kingdom of darkness, dwelling in separation from God’s love and power), if we hear a statement such as “Hate the sin but love the sinner,” we will not understand such a statement. Because the sin has become so integral to our self-perception of identity, we will believe that “hating the sin is akin to hating our very selves.” “Hate the sin but love the sinner” only will make sense to those who can see a clear distinction between “sin” and “sinner.” Such who recognize this distinction believe that “the sin” is a foreign force that seeks to exercise it’s will upon its host. They believe and recognize that “the sinner” is simply a captive to this cruel master called sin. For this “sinner” to become separated from the “sin” living inside and controlling their intellect, will, and emotions, it requires a miracle--experiencing the love and the power of God. See Romans 6-8; Galatians 5:16ff; John 8:31-47; 1 John 3:4-10.
More than just a single miracle, in order to experience God’s love, power, goodness, and plan for our lives, we need a relationship with Him. For this relationship to successfully connect us to God’s love and miracle-working power to the fullest extent, we need to daily choose to listen to Him, spend quality and quantity time with Him, think what He thinks, believe what He believes, love what He loves, hate what He hates, see people with His eyes of compassion, and grant Him full legal rights and access to our intellect, will, and emotions to do His good, pleasing, and perfect will.
A relationship with God will not always be easy. Since God loves us perfectly, the difficulties in our relationship always come from our end. Because our identities have been marred, stolen, and muddied by lesser “gods” that steal our affections, it may be a real fight to find our identity in the One True God. It isn’t always easy to surrender control, change our entrenched attitudes, trust, and obey Him. We may have to give some things up, change the way we think, cut off unhealthy relationships, intentionally set aside more time to connect with God by listening to His voice, His counsel, His loving commandments, and His words.
If we think it will help, even giving up things like meals, technological distractions, etc. can help us to refocus on getting to know God’s heart, His perspective, His ways, and His desires for our joy and welfare as we seek to reconnect with Him more intimately. Such can serve to weaken the hold of these lesser “gods” (or negative attitudes) in our intellect, will, and emotions as we get filled with God’s Spirit instead. C.f. Ephesians 5:11-21; Colossians 3:12-17; Mark 9:28-29; Romans 12:1-2.
I heard Robby Dawkins wrote a book called “The Identity Thief,” although I did not have the pleasure of reading it yet. I'm sure it's amazing though.