I was visiting a Christian counseling clinic in Windhoek, Namibia
when suddenly, groups of 2-3 women starting running up to me in order to take pictures. Several groups did this, giggling and smiling all the way. I was enjoying the attention, much to the amusement of my friend Terry who was with me.
Eventually, I overheard one group whispering to another new set of ladies, “Maxwell…its John Maxwell.” “Oh, No,” I replied, “Not me…I teach his stuff, but I’m not John.” Like a flash, they all vanished—scurrying back to their offices.
“You blew it buddy,” Terry said, “You had a good thing going there…should have kept your mouth shut."
A Case of Mistaken Identity
Over the years, I've been told I look like John, but also Al Gore and others. I pray for them to be healed (lol). During those moments however, I've often thought about how MOST Christians struggle with a case of mistaken identity. In brief, they forget two critical things:
1. They forget who God really is (Heb. 11:6).
2. They forget who they really are in Christ (See the list below).
If we misunderstand who God is, we'll be limited in our effectiveness as believers. Furthermore, if we forget the priceless and powerful identity we have in Jesus, we will be equally crippled.
Dr. Neil Anderson of Freedom in Christ ministries has compiled a list of identity statements I recommend people read aloud daily. We have them on bookmarks, posters, and in books we give to people in our ministry on a regular basis.
Here's one version of that list:
I AM ACCEPTED... John 1:12 I am God's child. John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 I have been justified (declared righteous). 1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God. 1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ's body. Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child. Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ. Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.
I AM SECURE... Romans 8:1-2 I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances. Romans 8:31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God. Colossians 3:1-4 I am hidden with Christ in God. Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me. Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven. 2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. 1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
I AM SIGNIFICANT... John 15:5 I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life. John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God's temple. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God. Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm. Ephesians 2:10 I am God's workmanship. Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
When we believe and embrace these truths, we don't need to be confused with a famous celebrity to have significance. We can, instead, proceed with confidence, hope, and joy.
To that end,