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For a while there’s been mixed opinions in the UK over the possible introduction of identity cards. On the one hand, it’s argued that this will help ascertain who’s entitled to benefits, improve security, and verify that residents are known and genuine.  If the proposal becomes a reality, it’ll be the first scheme since wartime ID cards were abolished. On the other hand, some feel the scheme is an invasion of privacy which also makes an unhelpful distinction between belonging and not belonging.   

Whatever you think about national ID schemes, Saint Paul makes it clear that, faith-wise, people either belong to Christ, or they don’t.  Romans 8:9b: ‘…  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.’ 

The hallmark of authentic Christianity is that the Spirit of Christ dwells in the heart of the believer.  This should be evident in the way Christians live.  Elsewhere Paul writes, ‘… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control … Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires …’ (Galatians 5:22f) 

So, maybe today, I should pray that the Holy Spirit will be at work within me so that it’s evident that I belong to Jesus.  I shouldn’t need a ‘Christian ID card’, for if people can’t see the nature of Jesus in my life, then I don’t belong to Him.  Jesus said, ‘By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’  (John 13:35)

A prayer:  Fill me, Spirit of Christ.  Assure me that I belong to you, and make me wise and generous in hospitality.   Amen.

Tony is a Superintendent Methodist Minister, broadcaster and author. He is a radio presenter with Premier Christian Radio and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2's Pause for Thought (5.45 am). Tony is married with two children and four grandchildren.

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