I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked about it in the last year. In fact, I’ve answered (or tried to answer) a peculiar question dozens of times just in the last thirty days. It seems like every time I go online, every time I open my laptop computer, every time I try to log in at the bank. Over and over again throughout any given day, I’m asked: ‘What’s your ID?’ ID, of course, is short for ‘Identity.’ What’s your name, and who are you?
My identity isn’t the same as my name. That would be too easy. We’re told that there are ‘identity thieves’ lurking out there in cyber-land; thieves who will steal our identity, open consumer accounts and charge things, create financial obligations connected to our good name that we aren’t even aware of. So, we have to create on-line ID’s, known only to us. We make up fictitious names to conceal and yet verify our identities. We don’t use our real names, and if we follow guidelines for how to create the best on-line ID’s, we don’t even use real words to identify ourselves. Combinations of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and even symbols, they say, make the best online ID’s.
I have so many personal ID’s I can’t keep track of all of them. Every website. Every phone app. I’m supposed to use a different ID for all of them. And, as if that weren’t hard enough, every on-line ID also requires it’s own, unique password. It’s not enough that I make up sequences of vowels, consonants, numbers, and symbols to identify myself. I have to match each ID with its own, equally peculiar and impossible to remember password before I am granted access to a specific internet site.
I find it interesting that, in very small but supposedly ‘readable’ print on every log-in page, just beneath the boxes where my ID and my password for a particular website are supposed to go, there’s a line that reads something like, “Do you need help re-setting your ID or your password?” Are they kidding? Is this some kind of an internet attempt at humor? I don’t need help re-setting my ID or my password. I need help remembering which of the 9 zillion Id/password combinations I’ve already created that will unlock the mystery of this particular website.
Prov. 22:1 says, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth.” It’s pretty obvious that the writer of that verse wasn’t trying to point out the value of coming up with a great internet ID for some app we’re trying to access. The Proverbs writer wasn’t referring to some fictitious name we come up with on our own. Or … was he?
The “good name” in Proverbs 22 is, indeed, a name I’m responsible for creating. More valuable than silver or gold. It’s true that if some robber intent on stealing from my bank account knows my internet ID and password, they might take what little bit of money I’ve been able to save over the years.
But my real identity — the one known to God Himself — that name, Ken Jones that defines my reputation, my character, my person, is a name that is affixed to my life and on display every day I live. I need to keep a careful watch over how I am known in this world. Someday, I’ll be done with life here, and I’ll have an opportunity to enter the Gates of Heaven. No need for a password. My identity has been established for a long, long time. It’s that way for all who have surrendered to the grace and mercy of Jesus and received Him as their Savior. God has a special place for names. Line after line of names that have been recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life.