Creating an Environment of Identity

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance…” Ephesians 1:13-14a (NIV, 1984)

“The Bible does not begin with the Fall but with Creation. Our value and dignity are rooted in the fact that we are created in the image of God, with the high calling of being His representatives on earth. In fact, it is only because humans have such high value that sin is so tragic…[But] He restores us to the high dignity originally endowed at Creation—recovering our true identity and renewing the image of God in us.” Nancy Pearcey

 

  • You are a daughter of the most-high King. The Lord Jesus has given you a place in His family because of His great love for you. In this moment, choose to accept this extraordinary gift of belonging and identity.
  • Open your Bible and read about our identity in Christ in Ephesians 1:3-14.
  • Take time to soak in each abundant and extravagant word that is being spoken about you in Christ.

Creating an Environment of Identity

When we start to realize how amazing God’s story is, a question naturally arises: “Who am I that I should get to be a part of the greatest story ever told?” Think about that question. How would you answer it? Is there a set of right answers that comes to your mind? Or do you struggle with knowing what that really means? Do you have a sense that God, the Creator of all things, created you for a unique purpose? The fact that you and I are even invited to be a part of God’s grand narrative of life, love, and redemption is true only because of Christ. This is why we affirm that our identity with God is found in Christ.

When I became a mother, I desperately wanted my children to recognize their unique God-given identity. God began to reveal to me why my identity was foundational for the kind of faith that I wanted them to possess. For the first time, I was awakened to the reality of who I believe God created me to be and what plan I believe He had for me to fulfill.

This awakening began to shape the way I viewed myself and how I made decisions. As an eyewitness to my children’s lives, I could see how what they believed about themselves influenced their decisions. When the world told them they were ugly, annoying, stupid, or unwanted, I wanted to shout out at the top of my lungs, “No, you are not! You are lovely, wanted, and treasured!” It frustrated me that some punk kid down the street had more credibility than I did. Then I thought about God as my Father. I thought about how the world had told me that I was worthless, unloved, and simply not enough—and how I had made decisions accordingly. I sought worth, love, and a life that would prove I was enough. Tenderly, God was shouting through Jesus, “You are worth it! You are loved…and I am enough!” This was the “Aha” moment that changed everything.

When we receive God’s identity for us (and believe it), we experience freedom. Suddenly, the opinions of the world and those around us pale in comparison to the voice of our Father. As we live in our identity, seeking to live out the life we were created to live in Christ, then we can genuinely ask the next question: “Who did God create my child to be?” It is here that we begin to understand the Father’s heart for spiritual parenting. This is often a difficult posture for us as moms.

We may believe intellectually that our children belong to God and that they were created for His glory, but daily living can tempt us to believe that they were created to reflect us instead of the Father. I can remember thinking and even saying to my children, “Don’t do this or that because you will embarrass me in front of my friends or family members.” In that sentence, I am communicating to my child that she is a reflection of me and that it is her job to bring me acclaim or not cause me shame.

How arrogant of me! Instead, from the beginning, we ought to see our children as image-bearers of God for His glory. Each of us was created in God’s image. We bear His fingerprint—and no two are alike. At the end of our season of parenting, don’t we ultimately want our children to look like Christ? That is a much higher goal than trying to keep our children from embarrassing us in public!

Blessings and Love,

Dr. Michelle Anthony

Questions to Ponder

  • In what ways do you need to repent from the temptation to create and mold your child into your own image?
  • How can you practically “die to yourself” and to your personal ambitions for your child and sincerely seek God every day, asking Him to reveal His plan for him/her?
  • Why do you think you may fail to recognize, on any given day, God’s incredible plan for your child’s life? Why do you sometimes miss out on seeing this contribution He wants him/her to play in His story?

Faith-Filled Ideas

Here are two ideas that helped me as a young mom to help my children understand their identity in Christ:

  1. Bless your children with this simple blessing:
    [Insert your child’s name], may you know that the God who chose you before the creation of the world, loves you. He knows you. He cares for you, has a plan for your life, and wants to be close to you. May you always remember that no matter what you experience in this world, God will always be on your side because you belong to Him.
  2. Create an acronym using the letters of your child’s name and give each letter a word that “identifies” your child. After creating it, share why you chose each word and place it in a prominent spot in your home where your child will see it.
Michelle Anthony

Michelle Anthony

Dr. Michelle Anthony is the Executive Pastor of Families at New Life Church and Dean of Youthmin Academy. She is the author of Spiritual Parenting,The Big God Story, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, A Theology of Familiy Ministry and her newest book, 7 Family Ministry Essentials. Michelle has over 30 years of church ministry and leadership experience in children’s and family ministries and graduate degrees in Christian Education, Bible and Theology from Talbot School of Theology and and her doctorate of Education from Southern Seminary. In her free time, Michelle enjoys being with her family, reading a good book, and the beach while drinking a strong cup of coffee.
Michelle Anthony

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