A Note from Mary Margaret West: Most of us have a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. I’m grateful for Cassie’s post today and how it helps us point girls in a healthy, biblical perspective on who we are in Christ. I hope that you have opportunity not just to encourage girls in this way, but for you to be reminded of who you are in Christ as you read today.
While I’m still recovering from Christmas, Wal-Mart is stocked with oversized teddy bears and heart-shaped candy. Valentine’s Day is upon us. Place a bunch of teenage girls in a room and ask their thoughts on this holiday, and emotions will be as vast as the sea. Some will ooze with excitement over hopes of romance, while others will be bitter at facing Valentines Day boyfriend-less.
Much can be said about dating, but we can’t forget the one thing our girls need most during this season of crushes and heartbreaks- the Gospel. Their identity doesn’t lie in their relationship status (nor should it ever, even after marriage), but it’s completely in who Christ says they are. Ephesians 1:3-14 is my favorite passage to teach identity in Christ. This Valentines Day, I encourage you to walk your girls through this passage, highlighting these labels Christ gives.
In Christ, we are…
Blessed with every spiritual blessing (vs. 3). Ask your girls to go crazy and share what they would buy if they had all the money in the world. Then, point them to this truth- in Christ, the riches we have are far greater than anything this world offers. His spiritual blessings are eternal, while everything else will one day fade. Therefore, their identity is not in gifts, cell phones, or clothing, (or the lack of them) but it’s in being blessed with salvation, joy, and more through Christ.
Chosen before the foundation of the world (vs. 4). Ask your girls about a time they felt un-chosen (maybe by friends, a boy, a team). They might not want to answer aloud, and that’s fine, but I’m sure we can all think of a time of rejection. In Christ, we have the opposite of rejection! Teach your girls Christ chose them before he created the world! He actually chose them when they were in their sin and were his enemy. Therefore, their identity isn’t in past sins, but in being chosen by Jesus!
Adopted (vs 5). There’s a high chance some girls you minister to don’t have a great earthly father. The wonderful news of the Gospel is we have the best father in our heavenly Father! He outshines even the best earthly dads. We are adopted into his forever family and receive all the benefits of being his daughter (one being an inheritance, which vs. 11-14 points out). Though your girls may not have an earthly male delighting in them (a dad, boyfriend, etc.), their identity isn’t in that. It’s in the delight of the Father as he calls them, “daughter”.
Redeemed and forgiven (vs 7). Before Christ, we are enslaved to sin. Most likely, you have some girls still enslaved. This is the gospel- Christ died and rose again to set us free from that bondage! Present the gospel clearly, and may today be the day of salvation! Encourage your girls when the Father sees them, he sees them clothed in Christ’s righteousness, not counting sins against them. “Condemned” isn’t the believer’s identity, but “saved by grace”.
Sealed with the Holy Spirit (vs. 13-14). We don’t have a royal family here, so we don’t fully understand seals. Be sure your girls understand when a king put his seal on something it made it authentic and permanent. This is exactly what the Spirit does for us! It shouts to the world our salvation is real and permanent. Therefore, who we are in Christ cannot be shaken.
There’s much more to be unpacked in these verses, but prayerfully, there’s a label or two your girls could take away. After talking through these, use sticky labels (or whatever works best) to have your girls to write down one of the labels that stood out to them. Maybe their label is “adopted” because they want to grasp the Father’s love, since they struggle with their earthly family. Maybe it’s “chosen” because rejection weighs heavy on them. Encourage them to put it somewhere they’ll see often. Then, when they struggle with who they are, they can use their label to remind them of who Christ says they are.
Simply, this is the “bones” of a lesson you could walk through. If appropriate, share examples from your life to help your girls connect with you in a deeper way. Depending on their willingness, girls could share their label with you. The sole purpose would be to have the opportunity for deeper conversations and specific ways to pray for them.
Blessed with every spiritual blessing. Chosen. Adopted. Redeemed. Forgiven. Sealed with the Spirit. These are the labels Christ gives. Most of all, we are “Jesus followers”, so challenge your girls to use this identity to shape their daily lives. They’re much more than any worldly label. This Valentines Day, remind them no matter what, their hope is in Christ. Let’s lead our girls to behold our Savior and praise him for the identity we have in him!
Cassie Pattillo is a wife to Jack, and mama to Hunter (4), Isaac (2), and is in the process of adopting from India. Jack is a student pastor, so she loves serving alongside him and investing in teens’ lives. She is passionate about biblical literacy along with writing and teaching about Scripture. She is also a big fan of slow mornings with a cup of coffee, a good book on the beach, and Gamecock football.