A part of Easter often gets overlooked. We know that Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the grave means we can be forgiven from our sins, but sometimes we forget that it also means we can have a new identity.
As humans, we’re tempted to use lots of different things to define us. We use our careers, personalities, hobbies, talents, relationships, etc., to tell ourselves and others who we are. We often make “I am” statements such as “I am a teacher,” “I am a mother,” “I am a hard worker,” etc. As kids seek to organize their world into categories that make sense, they grow up defining themselves this way too. They may say or think their worth depends on identities—they might say, “I am a good student,” “I am an athlete,” “I am the funny one,” and so on.
On Easter, we’re reminded that none of the false identities we cling to really matter. Because Jesus died and rose again, He made the way for us to claim a new identity—one found in Him and given to us not because we’ve earned it but out of His great love.
In the letter to the church in Philippi, Paul compares the identities the world has to offer with identity in Christ and helps us see the truth that what Christ offers is far more valuable. Paul had everything going for him according to the world’s standards of success, but when he became a follower of Jesus he discovered that his new identity in Christ was the only thing that mattered.
As parents, you have the privilege and responsibility of helping your kids to put aside any false identities and to cling to the identity God gives them. As you interact with your kids this month, watch the words you use to encourage or praise them. Are you tempted to reinforce false identities that are wrapped up in what they can do or how well they behave or perform? Take an extra effort in the next few weeks to speak your children’s true identity over them, reminding them that they are made by God, loved, chosen, forgiven, and set free.
Gather your family together and read Philippians 3:1–14 out loud. (If your kids are younger, you can shorten it and just read verses 3b–8). Choose a version that everyone can understand (like the Easy-to-Read Version, which you can find online). As you read, make sure to pause and define any words your kids do not know.
After reading, use these questions as a guide for discussion:
• How would you summarize this passage in your own words?
• How would you describe who you are? (an athlete, a good student, a musician, a good friend, etc.)
• What are some things God says are true about you no matter what? (God made you, God loves you, God is with you, God has adopted you into His family, etc.)
What you’ll need
• 1 sheet of paper per person
• crayons, markers, or colored pencils
• craft sticks (optional)
• hot glue gun and hot glue sticks (optional)
Invite each family member to draw a self-portrait. If you’d like, you can glue craft sticks around your picture to make a frame. Write some words on the frame (or around the picture if you didn’t make a frame) that describe your identity in Christ. Hang your pictures somewhere in your home where they will serve as reminders of your true identity.