Teach Christ Esteem to Our Kids so that They Can Become All that God Created Them to Be.
by Cherie Fresonke, @cheriefresonke
Do you desire the kids in your church to become all that God created them to be? When I was asked to do an article on this topic by Calvary Chapel South Bay, I decided to interview some kids and teens to see if they knew who they were in Christ. The children’s ages ranged from eight to eighteen. What I discovered broke my heart. The kids didn’t know who they were in Christ. In view of this, let’s learn how to teach Christ esteem to our kids.
Who Are You?
The first question I asked was: “Who are you?” Which was usually followed by, “What do you mean?” I would then rephrase the question with: “Whom would you describe yourself as?”
The answers ranged from quiet, adventurous, smart, nerd (for those of you with the gift of mercy this was spoken with pride), avid reader, various sports enthusiasts (probably fueled by the current Olympic games), baseball player, as well as quite a few “I don’t know’s.” Only one 9-year-old girl hit it out of the park with, “I’m Jesus’ daughter.”
The sad thing is each child that I interviewed was a born-again Christian. Most averaged being a believer for over half their young lives. Yet, when asked, “Who are you in Christ?” The answers ranged from “His child?” “A Christian?” Yes, all asked with a question mark on the end of their sentences to “I don’t know” and “What do you mean?”
Tragically, our Christian kids today don’t know who they are in Christ nor the power that is theirs as a result of being His. So, as ministry workers and youth leaders, how can we make a difference? How can we change the score?
Teach Christ Esteem
It’s time for us to teach Christ esteem. Start teaching the children in our Sunday Schools about who they are in Christ, so that they can become all that God created them to be.
This does not mean to teach self-esteem. I cannot tell you how many conferences I have attended, Christian conferences, where youth leaders and children’s workers excitedly shared with me the various ways they taught kids how to raise their self-esteem.
According to Pastor Bob Hoekstra, “Esteem means to hold in high regard. Self-esteem [then is] learning to hold yourself in high regard.” This is just a politically correct word for pride. And we all know what God’s Word says about pride.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
If we truly want to teach children how to become all that God created them to be, why would we set them up for a fall? Instead, it’s time to step up to the plate and teach “Christ-esteem.” So below are four points to help you in your quest.
First, learn the truth of who you are in Christ for yourself.
For starters, let’s sum up the truth of God’s Word concerning who you are in Christ.
You are loved by God, created in Christ Jesus, complete in Him. You are not a mistake, for you are His workmanship, created in His image. You are His beloved, saved, and therefore a citizen of the Kingdom of God. You are His child, chosen by Him. In fact, you are a chosen generation.
In view of this truth, you are blessed by Him. You are of worth. You are His bride and forever protected by Him. You are forgiven, set free, victorious and more than a conqueror. You are reconciled to God and are a partaker of His divine nature. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Because of this, you are able to stand firm, for you are strong in the Lord. In fact, you are strong till the end. You are near to Jesus, and you are able to sleep without fear, for you are promised rest. You are at peace with God. You are justified and you are considered the righteousness of God.
You are a new creation in Christ, and you are free from condemnation. You are redeemed. In fact, you are redeemed from the curse of the law and redeemed from the hand of the enemy. You are washed clean from your sins. For you are God’s. And therefore, know that you are the apple of His eye.
You are dead to sin, for you have been crucified with Christ and are sealed with the Holy Spirit. You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. You are called by God. You are His ambassador. And you must never forget that you are always in His thoughts. (Adapted from the Go in Peace Biblical Discipleship Curriculum. Used my permission.)
Second, make decisions based upon that truth and not based upon your feelings or emotions.
Feelings and emotions are fickle. They change every day, sometimes moment by moment. Therefore, it is important to make decisions based upon who you are in Christ and not based upon your feelings. But how do we do this in a practical way? Let me give you an example.
Say that you are feeling down and blue, you don’t want to get out of bed. Instead, you just want to pull the covers up over your head and go back to sleep. If you do that, you are living by your feelings and not by the truth of who you are in Christ. Plus you are not becoming all that God created you to be, because God’s Word teaches that you are more than a conqueror.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
In fact, God’s Word also says that you are strong till the end.
He will keep you strong till the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
—1 Corinthians 1:8
By remembering who you are in Christ, you can use this to strengthen you to roll over and get out of bed. When you do that, you are making decisions based upon the truth of God’s Word and not on your feelings. And more importantly, you are becoming the person God created you to be.
Third, find creative ways to teach “I am” statement within each weekly Sunday school lesson.
If we, as youth workers, start looking, we can discover within each Bible story a truth of who we are in Christ. Let me give you an example from an Old Testament story about Noah and the ark. Genesis 7:1 says:
Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.
God protected Noah and his family because they were His. God loved them. And it is the same for every child in our classes who accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. If they have done that, then: (1) They are protected by God (see Joshua 1:5-9; Isaiah 43:2) and (2) they are the righteousness of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
In Christ, we are made righteous just as Noah’s family was found righteous. So start looking for the truth of who we are in Christ within each story. And, as you discover these truths for yourself, teach them to your kids in your classroom, so that they can make decisions based upon that truth. Click HERE for Who You Are in Christ Handout.
Fourth, play games and/or role play with the kids to help them learn how to make decisions based upon who they are in Christ.
For example, if the kids in your class think they can’t do something, remind them that the correct answer is: They can do all things through Christ who strengthens them (see Philippians 4:13). If someone calls them stupid, teach them that that is not the truth, for they are created in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26-27).
Another idea: Do you remember the game Simon says? Change it to Jesus says. “Jesus says, ‘You are forgiven.’” Have all the kids take a step forward since this is a true “I am” statement in Christ. Then say something like, “You are purple.” Since this is not an “in Christ” statement, if someone steps forward, they are out of the game. And so forth. It is a fun way to have the kids start learning about who they are in Christ.
Feel free to share your own tips and creative ways to teach kids about who they are in Christ. We all are looking forward to your tips and comments. Also, if you would like to learn more about this topic for yourself, take a peek at my book Clothed in Righteousness. Keep up the good work and may God richly bless you.