Welcome! This is part four in my eight week children’s devotional series Understanding Who You Are. Feel free to comment your thoughts below and share if you know someone who could use this!
Here are the eight weeks:
- What Are You Made Of?
- How Did God Make You?
- Who Are You?
- Why Did God Make You?
- Why Do We Do Wrong Things?
- Is Sin Part Of God’s Plan?
- How Can You Be Made New?
- What Is Your Purpose?
Last week, we learned that you are a manifestation, or physical expression, of the love of God!
Now that we know this, let’s ask a few more questions.
Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What am I doing here on earth?
Most people ask these questions, and some go their entire lives without ever figuring out the answers.
The truth is that the answers are very simple, more simple than most people imagine.
Why Did God Make You?
Let’s read Genesis chapter 1, verses 26-28 [NLT]:
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
Did you hear an answer to our question in that passage? Can you tell me why God created you?
In verse 26, God says human beings will reign over all the animals on the earth. Then, in verse 27, God creates human beings “in his image.”
A couple weeks ago, we learned that to be an image of God means to be his reflection. It means you look like God.
Last week, we learned that God’s glory is best seen in this world through it’s spiritual forms: His unfailing love, his faithfulness, his justice, mercy, his compassion.
When we put all of these ideas together, we get an answer to our question.
Why did God make you? He made you so that you could show the world God’s love. You are supposed to rule over the creation in God’s place, as an image of him, so the whole world can see God’s brilliant glory – which is his love for them!
Now, let’s read Genesis 2:4,5,15 [NLT]:
4 This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth.When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil…
15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.
Genesis chapter one told us we are supposed to “reign” over the creation. This means we are supposed to oversee creation as a king would his kingdom or a father would his children. It means we are responsible for the well-being of nature and all living things – plants, animals, and each other. Now, in Genesis chapter two, we see that we are supposed to “cultivate, tend, and watch over” creation.
Do you know what cultivate means? It means to nurture, or to help grow! To “tend” means to tenderly watch over and care for something. We cultivate, nurture, tend, and watch over things that we deeply love!
Our purpose is obvious and clear in these two passages! God made us so that we could love creation! So that we could show the world the love of God, and so that God’s love could flow through us to the world. We are responsible for the well-being, care, and growth of the rest of creation.
When do living creatures grow? When they feel loved!
Science tells us that when we are afraid, we shut down and prepare to run or fight, but when we feel loved, we can open up, connect with the world around us, and grow!
This is why God created us. To oversee the growth of his beautiful creation, so that every living thing could fulfill its potential and purpose.
But Wait! There’s More!
Let’s read Matthew 22:34-40 [NLT]:
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
This passage is, perhaps, one of the most important in the whole Bible. In this passage, Jesus sums up the entire Old Testament.
In verse 40, when Jesus mentions “The entire law and all the demands of the prophets” he is using an expression that was common in Jesus’ time. “The law and the prophets,” was a reference to the old testament writings. “The law” is Genesis to Deuteronomy, and “the prophets” include most of the other old testament books.
So what are the two commands that sum up the entire Old Testament?
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind
- Love your neighbor as yourself
Do you understand what Jesus is saying here? He is saying that all of the hundreds of laws and all of the stories written in the Old Testament serve one purpose – to teach us about loving God and loving each other.
Deuteronomy 6:4-6 [NLT] says:
4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.
This passage is known as the “shema.” It is one of the most well-known and revered passages in Jewish culture. And it tells us that God’s commandments are all about loving him.
I John 3:11 [NLT] says, “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”
In this passage we learn that the entire message of the Bible is about loving one another. The message from Genesis to Revelation is about love.
1 John 4:7,8 [NLT] says, 7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
What is a child of God? A child of God is someone who is living in relationship with God. Someone who knows God, and is being who God created them to be. And we see that this is impossible without love. No-one can claim to know God, and no-one can be who they were meant to be without love.
We learned last week that God is love, and we are created out of his love, for love. Our entire existence can be summed up in one word: Love. Anything that is not of love is out of character with who we were created to be.
So why did God make you? He made you to know, experience, and express his love. To connect with his love here in this physical world and let it flow through you to the rest of creation. To be his brilliant, glorious image of his love to the world. To care and create, and tend and reign and watch over his creation with love.
Why did God make you?
He made you from his love, for his love, to be his love, to the world.
- There are two parts to the great commandment. First, we love God, and then we love others. This is because without first receiving God’s love, we can’t properly show his love to others. To illustrate this point, you will need a pitcher (or container of some kind) and several cups.
The water is a picture of love, and the faucet is your infinite source of love: God. You are the pitcher and the cups are the living things around you. Fill the pitcher with water from the sink and then pour the water into the cups. Then empty the pitcher and try to pour water out of it when it is empty. What happens if the pitcher is empty and the cups have a little water in them? Can the pitcher share “love” with the cups if it is empty, or might it try to get it’s water from the cups? Discuss how “love” can actually turn into “need” if we are not filled at the source.
- Discussion Question: Science tells us that the way we talk to plants affects their growth. Kind words can help plants to grow healthy and strong. Unkind words can cause them to wither. If this is true of plants, how much more true is it of animals and people? Why do you think words have this much power? [Hint: review week 2 about the creative power of God’s voice and how we are made in his image]
- You were created to love and care for creation. That includes people, animals, and plants. Let’s try an experiment. Write a list of kind words you could say, or kind actions you could show, and then try out your kind words and actions on houseplants, garden plants, pets, siblings, parents, or friends. How do your words affect the living things around you? How quickly and clearly can you see an affect on plants vs animals or people?
- Record your experiences. What did you learn about how to show love and how your love affects the living things around you? How does it make you feel to know that you are a being of love, created out of God’s love, for his love, to show his love to the world? Write it down, draw a picture of it, or record yourself talking about it.
- Genesis 2:15 [NLT]: The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.
- Matthew 22:37-40 [NLT]: “37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
- Deuteronomy 6:4,5 [NLT]: “4 Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.”
- 1 John 1:3 [NLT]: “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”