Mistaken Identity

by | Nov 5, 2021 | Christ-in-me, Christ-in-us, Identity, Persecution

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3 ESV)

Have you ever been mistaken for somebody else? About twenty years ago, I held an executive job where I oversaw a small group of people. And every few months, someone would come in to the office, spot me passing by the door, and hand me a sheaf of paperwork with the order, “Go and make a dozen copies of this,” with not even a “please”!

I usually just said, “Yes, sir!” and went off to the photocopy machine, leaving somebody else to inform him that he’d just sent a manager to make his copies. Because of her gender and his prejudices, he did not recognize her. (And these kinds of incidents made sure that Kari never forgot to respect the secretaries, who are usually the people who know how to get things done!)

But isn’t this our situation in the world we live in? Jesus lay down His life on the cross to make us children of God, people whose sins are forgiven. Because He rose from the dead, we know that we who belong to Him will also live forever. And He has given us His Holy Spirit, who lives in us, day by day making us more and more into the image of Jesus.

But most of the world doesn’t recognize that. They don’t recognize God—they didn’t recognize the Son of God, Jesus, come as a man among us. So how should they recognize us either?

They can’t. Some will see and admire us (very few, but still …) They may compliment us on our patience, or say that we are nice people, and sigh about how they could never be like that. (How wrong they are!) In these cases, we can correct them. We can tell them that what they think is us is actually coming from God the Holy Spirit. We can tell them about Jesus, so they can become God’s children, too.

Others will see us and hate us (sad, but true). Maybe we stir up guilt feelings for them. Maybe we’re just in their way—after all, it can be a real problem if you’re trying to do something underhanded and you’ve got a Christian on your team. In these cases, we can pray for them. And we can pray for ourselves, too, because it is hard to be hated, and there is always the temptation to do something to stop the hate—to cooperate in wrong, to stop doing what is right.

Prayer: Dear Father, please let Your Holy Spirit work in my heart to make me more and more like You. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions:
1. Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? Tell the story.
2. How would you expect to recognize the children of God?
3. Tell about one person you know who bears a strong family resemblance to Jesus.


Mistaken Identity