Communicating to Children the Self-Sufficiency of God

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Children intuitively know that they need many things in order to exist. So it is relatively easy to teach them that it is God who ultimately provides for these needs. What’s more difficult to communicate to them is the self-sufficiency of God—that He needs absolutely nothing! He alone existed from all eternity, fully complete in Himself.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:24-25 ESV)

One way we can help our children grasp this important attribute of God is to be careful with the language we use. For example, it would be in error to teach children: “God created people because He was lonely.” The implication being that God needed our fellowship. Or, “Jesus chose Peter to be His helper.” The implication being that God needs man’s help in accomplishing His purposes. Instead, use language in keeping with God’s self-sufficiency. For example, “God created people for His glory—to show His greatness and worth. He created us to be receivers of His goodness and love.”

Another way to help our children is by contrast: look for opportunities to humbly acknowledge the vast chasm between God and man.

  • He is completely independent, and we are completely dependent.
  • He is the sovereign Creator, and we are His creatures who live under His rule.

We can also emphasize the great freedom in this truth. For those who trust in Christ, we can freely receive all the benefits that flow from the self-sufficiency of God. We don’t need to work for God as if we need to fill-up any deficiencies in God. Think of the weight on a child’s mind and heart if he feels he must “help out” God somehow. By continually pointing children to God as the One who is providing, we can encourage them to rest in His self-sufficiency. This becomes extremely important in light of the Gospel. We must rest in the sufficiency of what Christ has done on our behalf. There is no working for salvation.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

(Photo courtesy of NASA.gov.)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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