Helping Children Find their Identity in Christ
by Ashley Alden
Can you remember a time when you questioned who you are or what you’re doing on this Earth? Maybe this question plagued you many years ago or as recently as last week or yesterday. Children struggle with this question too. As we teach them, we have the privilege of helping them discover their true identity in Christ, so that as they grow and the questions intensify they can fall back on God’s Word to find out whose they truly are.
Paul uses an interesting pattern in his epistles—often he spends the first few chapters reminding his audience of what Christ has done for them and what impact that makes on their lives. Then, the last few chapters are occupied with what to DO with that knowledge—it’s the outgrowth of what happens when one’s identity is rooted in Christ! The next time you read an epistle, look for this pattern—don’t just skip to the “here’s what you do” but soak in the, “Here’s what Jesus did, so here is who you ARE!”
As you teach children you can point out these truths to them as you’re teaching. Remind them first of what Jesus did and who they are and then tell them the practical aspects of what Jesus wants them to do. Knowing Who you belong to will affect your heart and ultimately your actions.
Another way you can help children find their identity in Christ is through an object lesson! If you watched the accompanying video, you saw a demonstration of this object lesson called “Who Am I?” As a bonus resource for you, we are including the full script and instructions here on the blog so you can incorporate this into one of your classes!
Do you have any other object lessons or ideas for helping children understand their identity in Christ? Comment below!
“Who Am I?” Object Lesson
A few labeled containers without lids
One labeled container with a lid
Two pitchers of water
A basin or wash tub to catch excess water
There are many words that describe who I am. (Give some examples; e.g., father/ mother, son/daughter, nephew/niece, uncle/aunt, teacher, pastor, editor, engineer, etc.) What are some words that describe who you are? (Allow response.) I have some containers here that might describe some of you. (Have containers without lids on a table in front of you. They should be labeled with “identities” that would apply to children you teach; e.g., student, brother/sister, friend, soccer player, musician, etc.)
Let’s pretend this water is what makes you who you are. Maybe school is really important to you. (Pour some water into the “student” container.) Maybe you are the oldest child in your family and you love to take care of your brothers and sisters. (Pour some water into the “brother/sister” container.) Maybe you love to have fun with your friends. (Pour some water into the “friend” container.) Or maybe you really want to be a professional soccer player when you grow up. (Pour some water into the “soccer player” container.) Maybe you play an instrument or sing and that’s really important to you. (Pour some water into the “musician” container.)
None of these things are bad. It’s a good thing to like school. God gave us families and friends as gifts. If you are really good at soccer or music, it’s because God made you that way. What is wrong is when those are the things that make you feel important or safe. What happens if you don’t do well on a test, or suddenly school gets really hard for you and you don’t get the grades you want? (Shake the “student” container so water splashes out.) Or what if you get sick and can’t take care of your brothers and sisters like you want to? (Shake the “brother/ sister” container so water splashes out.) What if your best friend moves away or decides she doesn’t want to be your friend anymore? (Shake “friend” container so water splashes out.) What if you get hurt and are never able to play soccer again? (Shake the “soccer player” container so water splashes out.) What if something happens so you aren’t able to make beautiful music like before? (Shake the “musician” container so water splashes out.) All these are good things, but they are temporary—they don’t last forever. If you think these things make you who you really are, then what happens when they go away? When these things don’t work the way you want them to, you might wonder if you are important anymore or if anyone loves you. You might feel like you don’t belong.
If you have believed on Jesus as your Savior, who you really are is found in Jesus. (Pour a whole pitcher of water into a container labeled “Child of God” and secure a lid on top.) When you have believed on Jesus as your Savior, who you really are is a child of God. (Read 1 John 3:1a.) When you are a child of God, He is with you always—nothing can separate you from Him. (Shake the “Child of God” container vigorously, showing that no water comes out.) Even when your life is turned upside down and you feel like everything is going wrong, you are safe with God because He loves you and you are His child. You are important and loved because God is with you and will never leave you. This week will you remember who you really are? Even as you enjoy your other activities, will you remember that before anything else you are a child of God?
Let’s pray and ask God to help us remember who we are in Christ. (Pray with children.)
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