Are You Leaving Anything Behind?

    Last week, a man in Gallatin, Tennessee, walked into a Wal-Mart dressing room with a new pair of designer jeans. (They have designer jeans at Wal-Mart?). Anyway, he took off his old tattered jeans and put on the new ones from off the rack. They fit good! So, he ripped off the tags and walked out…..all they way out of the store. Thinking he got away with it, he met up with his girlfriend in the parking lot and the two of them headed to the nearby Longhorn Steakhouse. After a good dinner, they slipped out of the restaurant without paying the bill. “What a great night!” he thought. A brand new pair of jeans and a free steak dinner!
    But there was a problem. When he took his old jeans off, he left his wallet, with lots of money (more than the value of the jeans and the steak dinner) and all of his ID inside. A suspicious clerk had seen him leave the dressing room without carrying anything, and checking the room, she found his old pants. The police came, got his ID, ran his license plate, and getting a call from the Longhorn nearby of a “walk-out” customer, spotted his license plate as he was attempting to drive out of the parking lot!
    Where did that new pair of jeans get him? In reality, he left a lot more behind than he took out of the store. He left his money. But worse, he left his identity.
    We do that every time we give into temptation. While sin promises to give us something, we always leave behind more than the short-termed pleasure we get from doing wrong. We leave behind a portion of our net-worth. And we leave behind our identity!
    When you are rude to a coworker, you might feel good for a few moments for “speaking your mind.” But you leave behind things that are more valuable, an opportunity to express graciousness, the fulfillment that comes from forgiving someone, and your reputation. Worse yet, you leave behind your identity in Christ (Ephesians 4:1). Every sin is this way. We leave behind more than what we gain!
    That was Paul’s point in the book of Ephesians. He reminded the readers of all the riches that they have in Christ, and how they are living a new and eternal life that they have in Christ. He then says in 4:1, that with all you have received, live like it! That’s what the author of Hebrews was talking about in Hebrews 2:3 when he speaks of what we lose when we neglect the salvation we have been given in Christ!
    Hang on to your identity! Protect those things that are most valuable! Let people see who you are and what you have in Christ by the way you talk and live!
    The dressing room thief is sitting in a jail cell today, without his new or old pair of jeans, and his identity bagged away in an evidence locker. I don’t think it was worth it. Do you?

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