This free Bible lesson will help children understand what it means to “live for God.” It is well suited for an older elementary Sunday School class, but we encourage you to modify our ideas to best fit your ministry setting. As always, we welcome your comments to help other readers in teaching this material.
Gospel Connection: More than anything elementary aged children desire to get what they want. This lesson encourages them to live for God instead. The Bible teaches us that as Christians we should give up our lives and submit fully to the will of God. This lesson teaches that if we want to follow God’s will then we need to follow the example of Christ. Children will be encouraged to try to be more like Christ. Ultimately, we must trust in his grace & forgiveness.
Lesson Title: Live Your Life For God
Bible Reference: 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24; 1 Peter 5:10; John 3:21; Hebrews 12:28-29
Target Age Group: Elementary to Middle School
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: One Hour
Memory Verse: 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NIV “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.
1. Children will learn that they should live their lives for God.
2. Children will learn how they can begin to live their lives for God.
3. Children will learn what can happen when they live for God.
Target Age: Elementary to Middle School
Basic Supply List:
- Large roll of paper
- Tempera Paint
- Paint Tray
- Baby wipes
- Chalk Board/Dry Erase Board
- Chalk or markers
- Index Cards
Note: In the teaching plan below the words in italics are meant to be read aloud. The regular text is simply directions for the teacher.
> > > > Basic Teaching Plan < < < <
Introduction: Begin class by greeting each child. Ask , How do you think that God wants us to live our lives? Allow children to respond and encourage them to live for God in anyway that they can think of. Say, Today we will learn how we can live our lives for God and become more like Him.
Biblical Evidence: Begin by reading (or having a child read) 1 Thessalonians 4:1. “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” Say, The Bible teaches us that we should give up our own lives so that we can live for God. Giving up our lives for God is like always remembering that God has a plan and always trying to find that plan so that we can follow it. We should act we love God and treat others with love always. We are always Christians, not just when we come to Church on Sundays. Living for God means being unselfish all the time. God has a plan for our lives that is better than anything we can imagine on our own.
Say, Now, How can we live for God? We know that we should live for God but how can we live for God every day? Read Thessalonians 5:12-22 to the class. On a dry ease board, chalk board, or poster, create a list of the ways that we can live for God. Encourage the children to recall as many of the ways they can live for God as possible while you list them on the board. Remind them that these are things that they should do if they want to live like God. The ideas that they can list are; have respect for those around you, Love workers who are above you, live in peace with others, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient, do not seek retaliation, be joyful, pray continuously, give thanks always, be wary of evil and avoid it at all costs.
When you have finished listing these ways, ask the children if they think that they can do all of these things on their own. Some may think that they can, but they are more likely to feel overwhelmed by this long list of rules. Say, It is hard to live fully for God and give up what we want. If we want to live for God, we can’t do it alone. Let’s read 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 to see who can help us in this task. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” Jesus is at the center of a life that is living for God. We are just humans and we cannot live for God if we do not accept Jesus as our Savior and allow Him to guide us through life.
Lastly, ask, How do you think that our lives will be different if we live for God? Allow students to respond. If we are living for God, God will receive glory though our lives. The reason for our existence is that through us God would be glorified. This can only happen if we are living for God.
Let’s look at 1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Life is hard and living for God doesn’t make it any easier. But no matter how difficult life, we know that God is there to watch out for us. Even when bad things happen to us He is still in control. When the time is right He will make us strong again.
Next let’s read John 3:21. “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” When we live for God we will start to see our lives differently. We will see life through the eyes of Jesus who saved us. It’s like the more we try to live for Christ the more we will want to live for Christ and not ourselves.
Lastly, let’s read Hebrews 12:28-29. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” When we are done with this life, we get to go to Heaven and live with our God. The Earth is not meant to last forever, but Heaven is. Heaven cannot be shaken. Someday we will get to live there. It is a wonderful thing to look forward to.
Following God Craft: Say, Today we learned that we should follow God every single day. When we walk we leave footprints. Let’s try to leave the hope of God wherever we go in life. Have the children take off their shoes. Lay out a large piece of paper, big each for all the children to walk across it. Have one teacher on side of the paper paint each child’s feet. Allow the children to carefully walk across the paper to another teacher who will clean the paint off of their feet with baby wipes. You will need a third teacher to help entertain the other children while doing this craft. This craft takes time and patience, but the children will really enjoy it. After the footprints are dry, hang them in the classroom to remind children to follow after God wherever they go in life.
Live for God Game: The point of this game is to teach children that if they want to live for God, then they need to be like Christ. Their lives should mirror Jesus’ life. Pair the children up and have them stand face to face with their partner. One child will be the leader and the other is the mirror. The mirror must try to mimic any movement that the leader makes. Challenge the children be a mirror as long as they are possible able. Say, right now we are just mirroring our friends, but in life we should try to be like a mirror of Jesus’ life. We should try to do what He did. Have the children switch places and play again.
Memory Verse Review: Before class, write each word of the Bible verse on an index card. “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1. Give one card to each child (or a few to each child, depending on class size) and have them put the cards in order as quickly as possible when you say go. Encourage the children to work together as a team to complete this task.
Review Questions: Use the following questions to review the main ideas of the stories.
- Who should we be living our lives for? God.
- Why should we live our lives for God? Because He is our Creator and Savior. Because He will make all things work out for the good of everyone.
- Why is living for God so hard? Living for God is hard because we are selfish and just want to live for ourselves. 4.
- What things does a person do when they are trying to live for God? have respect for those around you, love workers who are above you, live in peace with others, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient, do not seek retaliation, be joyful, pray continuously, give thanks always, be wary of evil and avoid it at all costs.
- According to Hebrews 12:28 what kind of kingdom are we going to inherit? A kingdom that will not be shaken.
- Who is always in control of our lives? God.
Closing: Close by praying with the children, asking God to watch over them and help them understand the need to give their lives to Him.