Updated: May 18
In this post, we’re going to focuses on the number one thing you need as a parent and that’s your identity. ‘Say what?’ you might be asking. Yes, it's your identity.
What are you driven by? Is it status? Achievement? Material things? Or something else?
What are your values? What are your priorities? Success and material things are nice but can’t satisfy us. But, what can?
In Mark 8: 34-38, Jesus addressed the crowd and his disciples by saying “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Matthew 16: 26 reiterates these thoughts by saying “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Or, in other words, what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Nothing.
The first piece of the ‘Full Armor of God’ from the Bible is the Belt of Truth. In order to live according to God’s standard, we need to first know the truth of who we are in Christ or identity. Let me explain.
If I asked “Who would like to have a $100 bill?” Of course, all of you would say “I do”. But what if I told the $100 bill “You’re worthless; You’re good for nothing; You don’t have any value; You’ll never amount to anything; You’re a loser!” Would anyone still want it? Really? You would?
Well, what if I slapped it, punched it and spit on it and said “Take that you loser!” Would anyone still want it? Really? You would?
What if I crumpled it up and threw it on the ground? What if I kick it and stomped on it? “Take that you worthless good for nothing. You won’t ever amount to anything.” What if I held it up all crumpled up and asked “Do you still want it?”
Why? Why would you still want it? It’s been put down, spit on, kicked, stepped on, and told that it has no value. Why would you still want it?
Right! Because no matter what I said to it or did to it, it still has the same value, right? It’s still worth $100. Its value hasn’t changed.
Listen up PARENTS. Here’s my point! This is true for each one of you. No matter what anyone has ever negatively said or done to you, these were lies from the enemy. Satan wants us to believe his lies that we are worthless and we have no value as a parent. John 8:44 tells us that the satan “is a liar and the father of lies.”
1 Peter 5:8 tells us that we need to “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This verse says we need to be alert because the devil is on the prowl looking to destroy us as parents.
Think about the creation story in Genesis. God created the world and everything in it. He created Adam and Eve the first parents. Then, who showed up. Right nasty old satan and he’s been out to destroy parents since the beginning of time.
John 10:10 goes on to say that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Again, the thief or devil wants to steal, kill and destroy us as parents. But Jesus said that He came to give us life and to have life to the fullest because of what he did for us on the cross.
As parents, we must not believe satan’s lies because we have incredible value, even way more value than the $100 bill.
The bible says that you were created in God’s image. That God knew you when you were in your mother’s womb, that he knows every hair on your head, that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that God has “plan and a purpose for your life, a hope and future.”
I love what God says in James 1:18. It says that “He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And WE, out of all creation, became his PRIZED POSSESSION.” (My emphasis) Think about that! Out of everything in the the universe or the world “WE are His Prized Possession.” Jesus doesn’t think just the world of you, He thinks the universe of you.
And that’s why God sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ to earth, because He LOVES you so much. He sent His Son to die for you. The bible says that there is absolutely nothing that can separate you from the love of Christ. Did you hear me PARENTS? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING can separate you from Christ’s love!! This is so important.
Matthew 7:24-27 talks about ‘The Wise and Foolish Builders.’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Life is full of changing circumstances. The storms of life will come, especially if you're a parent. Have you put your identity in Jesus, the solid rock who never changes?
We don’t approach each parenting challenge with a blank mental slate. Sometimes we bring our struggles from our past into the situation. What pain, grief and/or baggage are you bringing into your children’s struggles? Do you let past hurts cloud your judgment when your children are going through tough stuff?
Sometimes as parents, we conjure up thoughts about our past negative situations and think that what happened to us will happen to our children. Well, that is not necessarily true.
When we are coming from a healthier place within ourselves, we’ll be able to keep our children’s disappointments and failures in proper perspective. When parenting from your true identity in Christ, you shouldn’t feel the need to mold your children to be miniature versions of yourself.
Parents, are you more disappointed than your children when they are not picked for a sports team or activity? If yes, you may be putting your identity in your children rather than in Jesus. Finding our true identity in anything other than God is setting ourselves up to pass some unhelpful and unhealthy approaches to our kids.
Are you teaching your children that the acquisition of “stuff” has the ability to bring you joy? There is nothing wrong with having things but to think this is the way you receive joy can be a trap by the enemy who like we said ‘comes to steal, kill and destroy’.
Do you model healthy attitudes and behaviors to your kids so they can pattern their own attitudes and behaviors after you? Do they see you reading the Scriptures and praying.
When going through trials or tests, do they see you act with the love, wisdom and discernment of Christ or do they see you react to your child’s situations and failures with no after thought or guidance.
God uses our listening time with Him to show areas in our life that need change. Are you taking the time to pray, read your bible or just taking the time to be quiet so you can hear from Jesus? What has He been showing you lately?
In conclusion parents, your most important relationship has to be your vertical relationship with Jesus. Spiritual disciplines like prayer, reading Scripture, attending church and listening to God are all vital to this relationship. They help us keep things in perspective and keeps us connected to the one who gives us strength. Ephesians 6:10 tells us “Finally, BE STRONG in the Lord and in His mighty power”. (My emphasis)
Once we have Jesus as our most important relationship, He can help us with our horizontal relationships with our spouse, our children, our friends, our coworkers and others. (See diagram to the left) Click here to receive a simple diagram that will give you clarity with your family relationships. As parents, when we have our priorities in order, we are much more likely to set our kids up to do the same! Jesus wants you as a parent to not just survive, but to thrive. Do your best and give God the rest. In other words, let go and let God.
May God bless you as you parent!