God doesn’t need me. Or you. Or anything, ever.
But he does desire relationship with me. He wants to walk with me through life. He wants to speak truth that guides. He wants to listen to my heart and draw near to help.
Being made to be in relationship with God is an outrageous idea. Yet it forms the critical foundation of how we interact with God.
He’s a personal God. Not someone to be merely understood intellectually. Not someone concerned predominantly with our outward behavior. Not someone we perform for or have to interact with in contrived and redundant ways.
He’s someone to delight in. To rejoice in. To enjoy.
Coming into his presence should fill us with joy, gladness, and singing. When this is our reality, our hearts yearn for time with him. We are excited to go to him. Thoughts of him fill us with joy. We are anxious to pour out our hearts to him. We find in him what are souls are longing for.
This is true during the mundane moments of our day. During our prayer times. As we worship together. When we open his word. Everything brings joy and causes us to enjoy him more.
This is what God desires. It’s what he intends for our lives.
I’ve written before about this enjoyment of God. It’s a work God’s been doing in my own heart the last couple of years. If you want help understanding this idea or finding ways to enjoy God more, you can check out the post, “How Are You Enjoying God?”
But for today, I’d like to consider how we communicate this foundational truth to children and why it’s so important.
Children Were Made to Enjoy God Too
It is in childhood that habits, worldviews, paradigms are all built and set. And to be honest, there’s just so much that goes into training our children. It really is all encompassing. Every aspect of life. Every minute of every day.
And yet the goal is not to simply train behavior but to train the heart.
I don’t want my son or the children I teach to simply know what they should do in a given situation. I want their hearts to love God and others and form the motivation for those actions.
I don’t want them to endure Bible reading and prayer as another task to check off and complete. I want them to enjoy God and look forward to a time they get to engage with him directly.
I don’t want them to conform externally while having hearts that are proud or distant. I want them to learn to hear God’s voice and respond to his promptings.
How do we do this? Well, we can’t really. It’s the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives. But what we can do is provide fertile ground for his work. We can provide an atmosphere in our homes and classrooms where loving God and enjoying him is the primary goal.
Ideas to Help Children Enjoy God
These ideas have been adapted from my God is My Creator! children’s devotional.
Idea #1 – Help children understand the primary reason God created them.
Say: Sometimes people make things because they need them. Sometimes people make things so they can enjoy them.
Activity: Give children examples of things that have been made. Have them categorize if they were made because they were needed or if they were made to be enjoyed. (Older children can come up with their own examples.) Suggestions: cars, paintings, music, electricity, pictures, medicine
Ask: Why do you think God made people? Because he needed them? Or to enjoy them?
Read: Acts 17:24-25 and have children listen for the answer
Say: God doesn’t need anything! He made the world. He gave life to every person. God is so powerful he can do anything he wants! God chooses to use people. He wants us to be a part of what he is doing. He wants us to help others. But the real reason God made you is so he could enjoy spending time with you!
Idea #2 – Help children understand what it means to enjoy God.
Discuss: Have children share about times they have been excited about something (a birthday, holiday, trip, etc.) Ask leading questions to help them describe how they enjoyed that time. Examples, “Were you glad, happy or joyful then? Did you sing to help celebrate? How did your excitement show on your face?”
Say: When you enjoy something, it’s easy to show others how much you love it. You are excited and full of joy. You can’t wait to talk about it. You can enjoy God in these ways too.
Read: Psalm 37:4a, Psalm 32:11, and Psalm 100:1-2 – Have children listen for the words that represent enjoyment or show expressions of joy.
Ask: What is one thing that fills you with joy when you think of God?
Say: You can share your joy with God anytime! He delights in hearing about your life. He loves to see the joy in your eyes. He can’t wait for you to tell him about your day. He is always ready to welcome you.
Respond: Have children think of something exciting about their life. Encourage them to share their joy about that aspect of their life with God. As they do this, encourage them to imagine God’s excitement as he listens to them.
God is My Creator! Children’s Devotional
These ideas come from the final week of devotions designed to answer the questions, “Why was I created?” Children learn that they were made to enjoy God, glorify him, praise him and were specially created to do good works which he created for them.
Interested in the content of the other 3 weeks? Check out these posts for other ideas and FREE downloads as well as overviews of each week’s content.
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