What I think is critical in today’s reading (Colossians 3) is that we’re giving a lot of instructions for how to live, but before that, and throughout it, we’re told who we are. That we died to our old lives, and we now have a new life hidden with Christ in God. That we no longer are living the life we lived. That we are God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.
What God wants (and the reason for all the instructions) is for us to be conformed to the image of Christ. But before we can do that we need to understand who we are now. We’re not who we were. We now have the life of Christ. He is in us, we’re in Him. Because of that we’re actually capable of living like Jesus, and it makes sense to do so. Identity comes before conformity.
So think about how you’re teaching your kids, or the people in your group or church. Are you just insisting that they live like Jesus, OR are you making sure they first understand their identity in Christ? Because, everyone together now, identity comes before conformity.