Over 20 years ago, I had the opportunity to live in Egypt. It was an incredible experience. Around this time of year, I learned something that I had not known. Several of my American friends were gearing up to go to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other nice cities in the Middle East to buy Christmas presents for their kids. I heard one parent yelling to the other one, “Make sure you grab the right passports!” Thinking it was a strange request, I asked what they meant by “right passports”. They explained that because the Middle East hated Israel so much, if they had a stamp from Israel in their passport, they would deny them entry into their country. So they had one passport for traveling around the world, and one just for traveling in the Middle East. To me, it was like having two identities.
I’ve realized through the years, each of us have competing identities within us. One is the life that we were created to live and the other is the one created by the fall of Adam. Each of them have very different desires and are at war with each other. Paul, who named himself the Chief of Sinners, knew the struggle all to well as the Early Church was forming. Many believers had grown up trying to earn God’s favor by performing rituals and were struggling to understand grace. In Galatians 2, Paul explained to them, and to us, that it’s our Adamic identity that wants us to think our relationship with God is based on what we do. In verse 20, he wrote, “My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me— we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine!” (TPT)In effect, Paul was telling us he canceled his Adamic passport.
Each of us need to choose to cancel our old identity. When we accept Christ, we’re given a new one that is powered by grace instead of works. It’s not what we do that earns God’s favor, but Christ who lives in us. He is our righteousness before God. You are enough because He is enough, and He lives within you. We have to crucify the old way of thinking daily and accept our identity in Christ. So many of us are struggling to move forward in our Christianity because we’re still trying to carry around two passports. We’re trying to live like Adam on Saturday and like Christ on Sunday. That’s a hard way to live. When we cancel our old identity, Jesus gives us new life that allows us to live the life we were created to live. It’s a daily, and sometimes hourly, choice we must make to live the life Jesus has called us to.