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Summary: We allowed a great enemy to slither into our lives and he knew he need only to get us to trust him with our identity.

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“I am a Servant of God”

Series: Identity: Becoming Who We Are

June 11, 2017 – Brad Bailey

Intro

A recent report came out by the fastest growing crime in America which is…identity theft.

A crime in which someone steals some combination of your credit card number…. Driver’s license number… Social Security number… and take what is yours… leaving you to try to prove who you really are.

This latest Javelin Strategy & Research report declared that … the past year reached an all-time high. An estimated 15.4 million consumers were hit with some kind of ID theft last year …with fraud losses totaling $16 billion in the past year alone. [1] 46% of Americans have had their card information compromised at some point in the past 5 years Worldwide there is a new victim every 2 seconds.

Some of you may feel inclined to reach for your wallet…or your purse. But we are wise to stop and realize… we won’t find our identity there. Those may be valuable forms of identification that can protect our material assets…but they really can’t tell us who we are.

Jesus understands that the ultimate identity theft took place a long time ago.

We allowed a far greater enemy to slither into our lives and he knew he need only to get us to trust him with our identity.

We hear it in the words depicted in the garden of our formation…right after God declares the role of human life…this slithering enemy says “Did God say…?” In trusting him to define us… we lose everything.

(Right after God declares that Jesus is the Son who has come to save… the enemy comes to Jesus and says “IF you are the son…” But Jesus refuses to turn over his identity.)

So our focus this Spring season has been on IDENTITY…on realizing what Jesus came to restore…in understanding WHO WE ARE.

The question…Who are you?... cannot be answered by your name…and the numbers on your Driver’s License…Credit Card…or Social Security card.

So we have been focusing each week on an aspect of our ultimate identity…. Who we as human life were created to be.

There is one final title of identity that I want to invite us to hear this morning. It is the one title that was used to sum the highest honor of every great Patriarch through the period … was that which Mary took upon herself… which Jesus lifted up…and which the disciples and apostles considered their greatest honor.

“Servant of God” That is the identity that captures our place in this world.

You might be thinking…whoa…that’s a bit anti-climatic…. I was thinking “prince of the king”…. Or “The Beloved”…or “Agent of Mission”…perhaps “Guardian of the Galaxy”… or “Wonder Woman” of God.

Servant of God. It may be hard to initially think of being a servant as something to embrace and aspire to. Yet in truth it captures something that reflect our greatest freedom…and honor.

This past week, the actor Mark Wahlberg celebrated his 46th birthday…and one of the notable aspects of his life has been his Christian faith…and the significance of his relationship with God. [2]

When he first met his wife…he asked her if she wanted to go to church with him the next day… which they did. Now as a husband, father, and actor and producer of multiple movies… he goes to the local Catholic Church almost every day… to pray. He says he prays for 15 to 20 minutes every day before he sets out. When the interviewer asked him…what he prays for. He responded…

"I pray to be a good servant to God…” - Mark Wahlberg

Interesting that of all the ways he might capture his calling…he chooses to speak of being a “servant of God.” This may be explained in part from his past.

Sent to prison at 16 for a violent assault, Wahlberg's early life in Boston also included various drug addictions and around 20 other run-ins with the law. Yet in his late teens the actor turned for guidance to his parish priest, Father Jim Flavin, and began to turn his life around.

I don’t presume to know all of why Mark Wahlberg chooses being a good servant of God to be an overriding desire to define himself…but he makes a connection to his past….particularly being incarcerated. He knew he was not only bound…but was destined to be a slave to what he had been doing.

The Bible says:

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16

The Bible helps us to understand that in truth…we have been bound by our sin and separation from God…and the consequences it condemns us to…and that God is the one who comes in Christ to free us….but taking those consequences upon himself….and defeating the power of death. So we are free…but such freedom can only be grasped in now serving the one in whom freedom is found.

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