Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 055 Discover Identity Through Christ
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #055 – Discover Identity Through Christ
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
At a recent family gathering, I listened to my adult son share childhood recollections with my younger daughters and grandson. It was a pleasure to hear how he remembered events and what his opinions were. I’ve always been fascinated by how people can live the same experiences and have such different emotions and memories. Listening to his recollections and thoughts allowed me to know him in a new way and appreciate the unique ways God wired him to view and participate in life.
So, in this episode today we’re going to start with memories. Let’s relax and think back. Do you remember something about your childhood that was always a pleasure to do? I mean something you had to do? Did you have an interest that stirred you, motivated you, or set you apart from others? A passion? Was there a gift or calling you had to pursue because it seemed to complete you? What about your child? Is there something she does that is a type of identity marker?
When my middle daughter was young, there were two things anyone who knew her would mention if they spoke of her. Dance and painting. Those who know my youngest daughter well would say designing and building with Legos. My oldest daughter had such wit and a quick sense of humor.
I am a believer that it is a privilege and responsibility for parents to observe the inclinations and interests our children have. There is a connection between youth and exploration into what we are naturally drawn to. Observant parents will pay attention to these clues, along with the personality of their child. Through prayer and connection to them, we should find joy in assisting them to find what brings light to their spirit and could also be a source of income in the future, as well as an offering they can use to honor God with what He has bestowed to them.
My adult son uses skills God gave him to be able to listen well, read body language, and connect with people as he serves them in sales. My youngest daughter crafts intricate designs and constructs buildings and cities with Legos and also has an amazing ability to streamline processes. My middle daughter is gifted visually and artistically with graphic design and through the use of paper, paint, and a brush, brings light and joyful artwork to others.
One of the biggest parenting joys I have is seeing and recognizing the passions, interests, and abilities God has crafted into each one of my children.
Do you find it easier to observe and understand the God-gifted abilities your children possess, but perhaps not what you have yourself? I know it is more challenging for me. Although I always understood what I enjoyed and where I found peace and motivation, I was never able to comfortably or confidently acknowledge that I might have a talent in writing. To be very raw, I still don’t see a great ability, but I am leaning on the trust I have in God and the stirrings He places in my heart to accomplish through Him. I trust that I have what God needs for me to humbly follow where He leads and write simply and honestly about Him.
What many people find challenging is to balance finding gifts or passions and connecting those talents and interests to enable them to fully express and use them for God.
Even more important than finding and using the gifts God has given is learning to see ourselves as God views us and to understand how to navigate life in this world as He desires and calls us to.
Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
If we don’t know who we are through Christ, we are not showing our children where to find their identity. Instead, they will likely search and chase the culture and influences of this world, and establish their identification based on who or what they see and hear.
These days, by the time children are in middle school, and often grade school, many deal with suicide rates, nude photos, chat with dangerous strangers who attract and lead them away, and many have been exposed to pornography. These are topics we never want to hear associated with any person, let alone children.
When a child (just like an adult), does not have a moral compass built on Christ, he is much more prone to seek whatever this world or his tell him to. He will never find satisfaction or live with joy, hope, or peace.
Matthew 6:33-34 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We must have a true and maturing relationship with God through Jesus in order to recognize the need for our child to have the same.
Psalm 63:1 says, “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.”
We were created for fellowship and communion with God.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
God created us to desire Him. When we do not seek Him, our spirit is never satisfied. Our beloved children have the same need for God created in them.
If we do not consciously nurture and instruct our child in a healthy and growing relationship with Christ, she will subconsciously absorb and become what others in this world show and tell her to value and believe. She will also likely find unhealthy ways to cope with stresses and disappointments in life.
On the other hand, children who are raised in healthy, God-filled environments at home contain more joy and contentment, and are more optimistic, encouraging, resilient, and flexible. They are also less likely to be promiscuous, use drugs or alcohol, or be lured into or tempted by unsafe encounters, and are closer to parents and family than the average child.
Our children, when raised to honor and follow Jesus in a thriving relationship, are also more likely to have wise self-control, habits, and behaviors, as well as seek godly wisdom over worldly advice.
A growing concern today is the sexual orientation of children. Our educational system, as well as books, movies, television shows, music, and celebrities, push a godless agenda of choice and change on our innocent and naïve children. When we raise our child to know, respect, and understand God’s sovereignty, values, and truths, she will understand her God-given sexual identity and carry a sacred view of life while maintaining respectful tolerance for family and community, even those who carry differing opinions. A child patterning her life after Jesus does not look down on others who disagree and can have a conversation without harsh accusations or anger. Instead, she shows empathy and respect while allowing others their choice, but respectfully asking God to guide her choices.
A child who concentrates on growing a relationship with God through Jesus has a deeper respect for authority, is more likely to uphold truthfulness and integrity, dress modestly, respect herself, and will learn to view set-backs or hardships as opportunities to grow closer to God and also use them to establish and reinforce healthy and thriving coping behaviors or life skills.
It is essential that we build our personal relationship with Jesus daily. When He is important to us, when we delight in Him, His teachings, and our walk with Him, our child will also begin to place importance on Jesus.
Once we are growing our faith journey in genuine and fruitful ways, how do we encourage and enable our child to build their identity in Christ? There are multiple ways, but I will list the easiest methods with which to begin.
1. Let your child see you build relationship, not watch you follow a religion. Connections are built through authenticity and commitment.
2. Share why you hold certain beliefs. Back up your faith with God’s word and stories of His faithfulness.
3. Look for, and point out God, in simple moments of life. Include Him in all you are and do. Nature walks, Bible stories, and tying Him to life events are all easy ways to begin.
4. Develop routines and traditions that guide the entire family to the Lord. Our family made a Family Vision and Mission Statement. You can listen the Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast episode 039 “Family With A Mission,” to hear more about it.
5. Create your own Family Mission Statement together. Listen to the input of your child and incorporate it into the statement.
6. Read the Bible and pray together daily.
7. Let your child see you read your Bible during personal time, as well. Encourage her to do the same.
8. Pray for your child alone, but also in front of her. Encourage her to pray for you, too.
9. Show your child how you look to God in times of trouble so that she will do the same.
10. Let her see you praise God in good times, too.
11. Teach her (by example) how to serve and honor God. Let her come with you when you serve (where appropriate) and let her choose places to serve so that you can work together.
12. Spend time with your child doing her love language together. Work with the schedule of your family to create moments your child will remember. When she is attached and feels close to you, she will be more willing to desire a relationship with God. You will also be able to guide her more easily, because she will let you be privy to her thoughts and feelings because you have a strong relationship she trusts.
13. Listen to your child. When you have a close relationship, she will be more likely to entrust questions, fears, joys, and doubts about God with you so that you can help navigate her faith, pray specifically, and help her flourish.
Two verse from Proverbs give great hope for parents. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.”
We cannot guarantee that our child will choose to follow Jesus, but we can ensure that we give her sincere, natural, positive, and faith-filled truths, experiences, and biblical scriptures to make Jesus known and to guide her straight to Him. Godly character and integrity can be imparted to her through consistent, purposeful mentorship when we personally know, love, and strive to honor the Lord with our child.
1 Peter 5:2-3 says, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
What a lovely and significant purpose we have to parent our child for the Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Remember, God did not allow you to parent His unique child because He knows you are fully equipped. God demands and desires that we trust in Him and allow Him to lead and equip us in every aspect of our parenting journey. We should be on our knees daily with minds and hearts turned to His every lead. God knows and understands everything about each of us and our child and is the only one who can guide us in the ways we should go. He is fully equipped and able to handle every need that we, or our child, has.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
One of my favorite parental instruction passages is Deuteronomy 6:6-9, which says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
God cannot make the importance of purposeful parenting for Him clearer.
Psalm 78:1-7 says, “My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old— things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”
Jesus speaks the instruction so clearly in Matthew 19:14. “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Likewise, Mark 9:42 says, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
Father God, we need You so desperately. Thank you for Your guidance, love, and instruction. Parenting is the greatest and hardest joy You bestow on us. May we be worthy of Your great gift. Help us understand Your desires and see the blessing of our children with Your loving eyes. Enable us to seek and find You in deeper ways daily and show us how to reach each child with Your heart and truths. May our children please and delight You, Father. May they find their identity through and in You. Keep them close and in Your perfect care. Give them Your wisdom and desires. May they be equipped and eager to show You, so that Your truths and commands will be known to, and followed by, future generations. In Your precious name we pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this episode. The Live With Eternal Perspective podcast is currently linked to terrihitt.com, where you can access the episodes housed in one convenient location, as well as receive access to blog posts, transcripts, and additional resources designed to mature your walk with Christ and equip you to raise or influence children with love and purpose through Him. Be sure to sign up for my email list to be notified when my next resource, “Scattering Seeds: Planting Character and Faith in Your Child” releases soon. This eBook is an excellent encouragement and support for mothers or grandmothers of young children.
I pray this podcast draws you nearer to Jesus and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up and find new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.