Identity Crisis – Part 3

Identity Crisis – Part 3

(make sure you’ve read parts 1 & 2 before continuing)
Misconception #2: “Jesus is a Tyrant”

The tyrant mentality is the polar opposite. It says this: “Since Jesus hates sin and especially hates when I sin, He is up there in heaven somewhere waiting for me to mess up again so that He can slap another ticket on the windshield of my life.” The tyrant mentality views Jesus as the cop with the chip on His shoulder, like the Jack Bauer of heaven—the rogue agent out for revenge waiting for His next victim to slip up. And here’s the resulting identity.

The Legalism Identity

The believer who lives by this misconception lives in fear. As we talked about in chapter five, legalism shadows Jesus’ real identity. But not only that, it shadows the identity of the follower of Christ. It says that I must live in worry that I haven’t done enough to please God and I’ve done too much to displease God. Having an identity of legalism means that I must live by a list of dos and don’ts. I must cross all my T’s, dot all my I’s, read ten chapters in my Bible everyday, pray three hours, witness to at least thirty people a day, eat my greens, recycle my cans, cover my mouth when I sneeze, don’t kick the cat, bla bla bla. Not that any of those things are wrong. But it’s the attitude that accompanies the actions that make them wrong.

What’s wrong is when I think that what I do earns me points with God, or helps to reduce the demerits I have with God.

What’s wrong is when, out of a sense of duty, I help an old lady carry her groceries while all along envisioning the Jack Bauer God peering overhead. Here’s what John said about living in fear:

“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment” (1 John 4:18).

Did you catch that? That is the right conception about God. Fear is driven out when God’s love is brought in. So here it is … (check back tomorrow)