Below are some additional interactions on the article: Reclaiming Our Original Purpose. Read it first.
When you consider the concept of “purpose” it can be helpful to look at the actual definition of the word. While doing this, it may be even more helpful to imagine God speaking the definition to you face-to-face. Take a look below at the definition from dictionary.com:
[pur-puhs] noun, verb, pur·posed, pur·pos·ing.
1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
3. determination; resoluteness.
4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.
5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.
verb (used with object)
6. to set as an aim, intention, or goal for oneself.
7. to intend; design.
8. to resolve (to do something): He purposed to change his way of life radically.
verb (used without object)
9. to have a purpose.
10. on purpose, by design; intentionally: How could you do such a thing on purpose?
11. to the purpose, relevant; to the point: Her objections were not to the purpose.
1. object, point, rationale. See intention.
7. mean, contemplate, plan.
Being creative is one way that we portray God and his love to those around us. It may seem like a concept out of left field but stop and think for a second—God introduces himself to the world, first and foremost, as a Creator. It’s basically the first thing we discover about him, and we use that title of Creator to describe and refer to God all the time. So if he made us in his image to do his work here on earth, it’s not a big leap to see that he made us all with the ability to create. You might look at yourself and think “no way! Everything I try to create ends up a pile of glue and glitter in the trashcan!”
But God didn’t intend for us all to paint like Michelangelo or rap like Tupac or dance like the prima ballerina. He gave each of us ways to be creative specifically and purposefully. Perhaps the way you create is by completely owning the half pipe on your skateboard, or giving makeovers to yourself and friends. Being creative can be found in cooking, telling jokes, making mixes and playlists, arranging furniture, scaling the rockwall, inventing something! There is something creative in all of us and I challenge you to try and discover what yours is! Finding out the ways you can be creative is finding out more about your part in God’s purpose. So for the next week, make a list of one thing to try each day, share it with a friend, family member or leader so that they can hold you accountable and also help you process how each endeavor went and what it showed you.
Don’t give up the first time, remember it took Thomas Edison over 10,000 tries to create the light bulb!
God commanded all of us to love him and love our neighbors as ourselves. We reflect his glory and purpose when we love those around us. So in order to be able to do that most effectively, it’s probably a good idea to figure out what your “love languages” are. Here is a link to take a quiz that will assess the way you communicate and receive love. Sometimes we develop or change because of experiences or just maturing so feel free to take this quiz again in later years. Also this website, based on Gary Chapman’s book series The 5 Love Languages can expand on and explain more of the way God created each of us uniquely to express and experience his love. It’s pretty cool! So have fun and try to answer honestly about how you are now rather than how you would like to be.
Genesis 1:27—this key passage shows us that humankind’s purpose was to reflect God in all creation, to be the visible image of the invisible God in all creation.
Romans 5:12–17—a passage that tells us that, where Adam failed to uphold God’s image, Christ succeeded.
Hebrews 1:3—another passage that tells us Jesus succeeded in upholding the original image given to Adam before the Fall.
Small group guide:
Take a look at this song, part of the movie Prince of Egypt. It’s the part of the story where Moses has just left his palatial life as second prince to the Egyptian throne. He finds himself in the desert with a tribe of nomads—a place he never expected to be. You might be able to relate to how he feels right now—purposeless and totally off balance. Listen to the words the leader of the nomads says and consider the value of living a life devoted to God’s purpose rather than your own. The possibilities are endless and your part in the big story has yet to discovered!
Here are a couple of videos about Gabby Douglas, the young Olympic athlete from the 2012 summer games. There is clearly a greater purpose to her life:
Read the Article and Watch the Video
Large group guide:
- If you’re up for a fun discovery, challenge yourself to read through Matthew’s Gospel, or pick your favorite of the four. In a journal or notebook, record all the instances that you can find where Jesus fulfills the Greatest Commandment. Give yourself several days to complete the task. When you are done, share your findings with your youth leader, spiritual mentor, parent, or chaplain.
- If you’re up for a risky exercise, ask God for help to show you where you succeeded in fulfilling the Greatest Commandment and where you failed to uphold it. Try to examine only the past week of your life. Record your findings in a journal or notebook.
- Think of your best friend. Write that person’s name down. Now consider an act of kindness that would show them a genuine display of God’s love. If that seems too easy for you, then write down the name of the person you most prefer to avoid and do the same.
Once you begin to crack into that area of your heart that knows you were created for a bigger purpose, it can start to be pretty overwhelming. The great depths and lengths of this world’s story can sometimes make us feel like a tiny speck in an ocean. While that is in some ways true, God is a relational God. He desires a one–on-one encounter with YOU. Specifically YOU. Take a minute and write down how that makes you feel. Draw it or even act it out if you communicate better that way. The goal here is to identify and articulate what you think of this grand and yet very specific God. Talk to him and tell him how you feel. If you need a place to start, take a look at David’s Psalm 63:1–8.
O God, you are my God,
and I long for you.
My whole being desires you;
like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land,
my soul is thirsty for you.
Let me see you in the sanctuary;
let me see how mighty and glorious you are.
Your constant love is better than life itself,
and so I will praise you.
I will give you thanks as long as I live;
I will raise my hands to you in prayer.
My soul will feast and be satisfied,
and I will sing glad songs of praise to you.
As I lie in bed, I remember you;
all night long I think of you,
because you have always been my help.
In the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
I cling to you,
and your hand keeps me safe.