Youth Group Lesson on Purpose
Bible: 2 Timothy 1:9; Psalm 139:13; Philippians 2:13; Psalm 33:11
Description: God created you with a plan and a purpose in mind. The purpose for your life is not about you; it is about Him. He’s not going to force you to live according to His purpose. It’s a choice that you have to make.
Opening Game: Melting Away
- Two bowls of ice
- Two towels
- One empty bowl
- One bowl of water
- A fork
- A spoon
- A cup
How to Play: Split the group into two teams and give them each a bowl of ice and a towel. The point of the game is to make the ice completely vanish.
Players must take turns doing this—they each get thirty seconds with the bowl of ice before they have to pass it to the next player. They can do anything they want to melt the ice—they can blow on it, rub it in their hands, use the towel, or even crush it with their feet. But the game isn’t finished until there is no trace of ice left, only water. The first team to make their bowl of ice completely vanish wins!
Teach – Purpose
Have you ever wondered what your purpose in life was? Have you ever wondered why exactly you were put on this earth, and what exactly you’re supposed to do with the time you have here? Those are really big questions, right?
Those are questions that can make you feel really small and scared, and questions that can drive you absolutely crazy until you answer them. Well, I’m going to go ahead and clear a lot up for you about these questions, which will hopefully save you a lot of time and frustration. Are you ready?
You can’t answer them. Yep, you heard that right. Those questions that seem so big and important? You can’t answer them. Not on your own, anyway. Why do you think that is? Well, here’s a question for you: If you didn’t create yourself, how can you possible know what you were created for?
Read Psalm 139:13 – “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Have you ever seen anyone knit before? It’s a very intricate process, one that takes a lot of time and focus. It’s not possible to accidentally knit something. Instead, you have to have a plan of what you’re going to knit, and then you have to focus on what exactly you’re knitting. God knit you together. Not on accident, not on a whim, but with a purpose.
If you want to know what the purpose of something is, don’t you think it would be a good idea to ask the creator of that something? God knit you together at the very beginning of your life, before you even knew you existed. Don’t you think He knows what He made you for?
2 Timothy 1:9 – “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”
I’m going to let you in on a secret. God’s purpose for you is not about you; it’s about Him. This verse says that we’ve been saved and called to a holy life because of Jesus, not because of us. Because of God’s purpose, not because of ours. And then it says something really cool. It says that the grace of Jesus was given to us before the beginning of time. Not before the beginning of your life, but the beginning of time. That’s so crazy that’s it’s hard to wrap your mind around!
So let me ask you this-if God was going to save you and call you because of His purpose and grace, and He gave you that grace before the beginning of time, don’t you think it’s safe to say He’s always had a plan and a purpose? If He’s going to go through all the trouble of giving you grace way before you’re even around, and then calling and saving you—I don’t think there’s any way you’re an accident. And I don’t think there’s any way that you don’t have a purpose. You do have a purpose, and it’s His purpose.
It can be scary to think about committing to following God’s purpose. We’re crazy sometimes and get this idea in our head that God’s purpose might not be what we want. We get sad about maybe having to give up our own purpose. But here’s the deal: What in your life, in your plans, is so amazing that you could possibly think it’s better than God’s purpose for you?
Seriously—think about it. God, the creator of the universe, the creator of you, has a purpose for you. Do you really think you could beat that? There’s no way.
Okay, I need a volunteer to come up here. Get out the two bowls, one with water, and the fork, spoon, and cup. I need you to do something for me. I need you to transfer the water from this bowl to the empty bowl using one of these things. Which one do you think would be the most helpful?
They will say the cup. Okay, well, I actually have other plans for the cup. So what else could you use? The spoon? Okay, I kind of wanted to do something else with the spoon. But I don’t have any plans for the fork—why don’t you use that?
Let them try to use the fork for a few seconds before sending them back to their seats. A fork is a really great thing. We all use them pretty much every day, right? But a fork is absolutely terrible at getting water from one bowl to another. That’s just not its purpose, no matter how much I thought I knew it could work. The cup would have worked so much better! It’s the same way with us.
God knows our purpose because He created us, and He knows what we’ll be the best at. If it were left up to us, we’d probably be like the fork—trying to do something that we were never meant to do!
Read Philippians 2:13 – “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.”
God works in you to fulfill a purpose. See? It’s not your purpose, it’s His. And it’s good. But it’s not a forced purpose. Sure, God has a purpose for you. Yes, it’s amazing. But God is not going to force you to live according to His purpose; it’s a choice you’re going to have to make for yourself. Why wouldn’t you want to choose to live out God’s purpose?
Psalm 33:11 – “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”
Isn’t that beautiful to think about? God’s plans and purposes will stand firm forever. That’s pretty amazing! So, in case you’re still having doubts about whether or not these plans are purposes are better than your own, let me put it in perspective for you.
God knows everything. He knows time from beginning to end. He knows exactly what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and how it’s going to happen. He knows what you want and what you need. He knows your talents, your heart, and what your purpose truly is. Most of you in here don’t even know what you’re going to be eating for lunch tomorrow.
In the game you played, you had to hurry to melt the ice away. It took a little bit of effort, but you were able to make it vanish. There’s no trace of the ice left at all! If someone came in here now, they’d never know there had been ice there at the beginning of the night, they’d just think it was water.
That’s how our plans and purposes for ourselves are. They may seem strong and sturdy, but just like that ice, they soon vanish. God’s plans and purposes, on the other hand, stand firm forever. So really, who do we think is better equipped to be in charge of your life’s purpose?
1. Do you spend a lot of time questioning what your purpose is?
2. Have you ever thought to ask God those hard questions we talked about—like why you’re here and what you’re supposed to do with your time here?
3. Do you believe that God has a purpose for you? Do you think His is better than your own?
4. Have you ever really thought about how God intricately knit you together before you were even born? How does that make you feel?
5. When you think about how God knows everything, does that make you feel any differently about His purpose for you?
6. God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die for your sins. Since you know how great of a love that is, do you think that His purpose for you is a good one?
7. Is it hard for you to commit to following God’s purpose for your life? Why or why not?
8. We read that God’s plans and purposes will stand firm forever. Can you say the same thing about your plans?
9. Did you know that God gave you grace before the beginning of time? Do you think it’s possible for Him to have done that and not have a purpose for you?
10. How can you begin to follow God’s purpose for your life if you don’t know what exactly it is?
Teach Wrap up – Purpose
Have you ever bought someone you loved a really great gift before? One that you picked out just for them, and that you knew they would love because you knew them so well? You hid it under your bed, wrapped it, and excitedly counted down the days to their birthday so you could give it to them.
That’s kind of how I imagine God feels about your purpose. He knows you better than anyone else ever will, and He knows how you’re supposed to fit into His plan. And He has this incredible purpose for you that He’s created. He’s just excitedly waiting until you say yes.
So say yes! Ask Him about His purpose for your life. It’s not complicated, just pray and ask Him to lead you in the right direction.
Truly, God has already revealed a lot of your purpose to you through His Word, so it’s important to make sure you’re living according to that. If you’re worried about what your purpose is, yet you’re running around lying and disrespecting your parents—well, you’re not living out God’s purpose for you, because you’re not living in the way that you know He wants you to live.
So open your Bible this week. When you come across a commandment, or an instruction on how to live, don’t look at it as a rule. Look at it as God revealing your purpose to you. He knows you and what you need. He gave you the incredible gift of His Word. So open it up and start living!