For this blog post, I thought it would be good to start at the beginning of our story as human beings. Why do we exist? What is our purpose? This is something that has been a timeless topic for consideration and debate as long as humans have existed. Specifically, I want to address this from a theological or spiritual perspective. Why did God create human beings? What was His intention and desire for doing so?
Unfortunately we have received some really toxic, unhealthy beliefs about this through the spirit of religion, man-made traditions, and legalistic doctrines that typically portray our relationship with God mainly as that of Master-Servant. But Jesus came to show us a revelation of God as our Father (Matthew 6:19). And not just as any dad; but a really, really good Dad (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17).
Jesus taught primarily through parables, analogies, and word-pictures so that we can relate to Him in terms we understand from our own lives and human experience. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. And I think this picture of our relationship to God primarily as that of Parent-Child makes what would otherwise be a very mysterious and complex question (“Why do we exist?”) amazingly simple.
Why do human parents have kids? What is the main reason? Is it mainly so that the parents can have their kids:
NO!! Those 5 things listed above are certainly very good and can be important indicators of a healthy family. However, even though I’m not yet a parent myself, I’d like to suggest that people desire to have children mainly for one reason: to give their love and affection to their children, simply because it pleases them to do so. How much more, then, is this true about God and His one main reason for creating us as His children? After all, God doesn’t just have love; love is not just something He gives if/when He feels like it. God literally is love; it defines Who he is (1 John 4:8).
[Sidebar: by using the illustration of a human parent-child relationship, I am assuming a healthy and loving family environment with parents who unconditionally love their kids and have their best interests at heart. Unfortunately, I know this has not been the experience of many who have been deeply wounded by the very people who were supposed to love and care for them the most. If that is the case for you, by communicating God’s true heart for family–and specifically for you–I am praying that God will give you a redemptive perspective of something that may have caused you a lot of pain and possibly a cynical perspective about God.]
In my experience (and probably that of many others) we seem to be taught that obedience to God is the most important aspect of our relationship with Him. And don’t get me wrong, I believe obedience is very important. As a young kid, I remember being spanked for running into the street without looking both ways, or when I tried to touch a hot stove. At the time I didn’t have the maturity to understand why it was so important to obey my parents about that, so I just obeyed them to avoid their displeasure and punishment.
Later I learned for myself the real importance of looking both ways before crossing the street and not touching a hot stove: to avoid being seriously hurt or killed. So it’s true that obedience and punishment are important, and are even expressions of love and concern for the child. But as I’ve heard it said, “Obedience is the highest core value of a servant or slave. Intimacy is the highest core value of a son or daughter.”
Similarly, I think it’s proper and good that kids help their parents out with chores around the house and perform other acts of service. That’s part of what family is about: working as a team, blessing and serving one another as another expression of mutual love. I think it’s also ideal and really admirable when kids grow up and are able to give back to their parents and bless them for everything the parents have given their kids.
One of my goals is to take my parents on an extravagant, all-expenses-paid vacation as an expression of my appreciation for all they’ve done for me. I also deeply desire to give them the joy of having a daughter-in-law and grandkids. I love how they’re so proud of seeing my character develop and how they’re blessed by seeing my accomplishments and successes in life. And even more than all those things, I know their hearts are filled to overflowing with joy and delight because of the love they receive back from me.
But my highest value to my parents is not on the basis of any of those things. My highest value to them is simply in being their son; a recipient of their love and affection because of the inherent joy and pleasure they experience in that relationship. And this is how it is with us as God’s children! He didn’t create you because He was lonely, or because He needed you to do something for Him. God was perfect and complete within Himself before anything or anyone was ever created.
God absolutely delights in our obedience and trust in Him, as well as in seeing us grow in the development of our character and the accomplishments and success that come from that. He is overjoyed when we serve as a witness of and channel for His love to flow through, so that others can be born again and adopted as sons and daughters into His family to spend all eternity with Him. His heart is deeply moved when we reciprocate His love out of our own free will.
But know this: absolutely nothing that you do or don’t do will ever make God love you any more, or any less. That is because God already loves you perfectly and unconditionally; simply because you are His beloved child. You were created to be loved! The more we camp out on that truth, the more that everything else will fall into place.
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