Choose Life! Sunday School Lesson on Living for the Lord
Some decisions should seem pretty obvious…and yet we don’t always opt for the glorious blessings that God offers us. Life or death? Good or evil? This lesson encourages students to make wise choices about life and loving the Lord. Our choices have important consequences! Consider the words of Deuteronomy 30 as they relate to everyday decisions and the importance of accepting God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When discussing decisions, we can sometimes be tempted to focus a little too much on our own power and place. We might act like we have one something great when it comes to accepting the gift of God’s grace, but it’s Jesus who did the heavy lifting! This message emphasizes the beauty of how God is in control. He loves us and has chosen us no matter what. We can still turn away from that love and choose not to serve and follow Him, but why would we reject such amazing grace?
Bible Passage: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade (children age 6-12 years old)
You can download the complete 18-page Sunday School Lesson on Deuteronomy 30:15-20, compare the Bible craft activities, and choose life children’s sermon.
Materials Needed: Construction paper; paper plates; brad fasteners; small containers; glue; markers or crayons; items that could be used in decision making (choices of varied items); tape; scissors; decorative supplies; Bibles.
Lesson Opening: This passage involves the importance of choosing to love and serve God, over and above all other things. There are elements of choice and wise decisions, along with the importance of how students (and we!) can honor our Lord. Consider opening the lesson with activities that involve making choices, or the importance of God’s Grace. Some possible ideas include:
- What would you choose? Discuss some rather obvious decision possibilities, and have pictures or actual options available for students. Ask them which they would opt for if given a choice between two things. This activity can be done with items that might be tougher to decide between, or it can also be made an obvious choice, like pairing candy with vegetables or chores with a game.
- Make a decision 2.0…This version might work better with older students. Have participants line up on one side of the room. Offer students two choices, and designate a direction for them to walk towards based on each one. For instance, “if you prefer ham, head to the north side of the room; turkey goes to the south side.” Students can also move part way across the room if the answer is “moderately agree” or “somewhat decided”.
- Obey the Lord freeze tag… Invite students to consider methods of honoring God with a twist on freeze tag. Have an “it” begin chasing students around a designated area of play. In order to avoid being tagged, a student must crouch and call off an example of how to obey God. If they are tagged before reciting it, another student can “un-freeze” them by tagging them and calling off a way to honor the Lord.
- Consequences…we can choose to reject God’s blessings, but those decisions will result in consequences that might not always be pleasant. Discuss the negative impact certain things can have. If relevant, show some videos of foolish choices or consequences of poor choices. You might also display pictures and brainstorm predictions of potential outcomes for behaviors.
Explain to students that today’s lesson reminds us of the importance of making wise choices. We have a lot of choices that we can make in life, and the most important thing we can decide to do is follow God and obey Him. God promises that He will always love us, and that choosing HIM leads to life and blessing!
This passage is from the Old Testament, and involves words that God gave to His people, warning them of the importance of keeping God’s laws and embracing His blessings. You might have students take turns reading these verses, or you could choose to read them out loud and pause to explain and discuss what is being said.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. -Deuteronomy 30:15-16
God is here talking to His people and explaining to them the best way to live. He describes with simplicity how to live: loving the Lord and walking in His ways. God also promises a blessing that accompanies walking in His ways. By keeping His commandments and loving the Lord, good things will come.
Ask: How can we love and obey God? What things can we do to keep His commandments?
But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. -Deuteronomy 30:17-18
Children are familiar with the concept of rewards and punishments. God has set up the reward for choosing Him. There is a warning here, too. With obedience comes blessing and long life. However, disobedience will yield negative results. Note that it is possible to reject God, and unfortunately, some people choose to. We can turn away from Him and His promises of blessing. But it seems rather foolish. If someone tried to give you a great gift, why would you want to give it back?
Ask: If someone offered you a wonderful thing, what would make you turn it down? Have you ever said no to something and later regretted it?
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” -Deuteronomy 30:19-20
God makes a final appeal here, reminding His people of His faithfulness. God had made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Israelites knew that the Lord was powerful and stayed true to His covenants. They trusted in His word, and here were given the choice to follow Him and remain faithful to Him. It might seem straightforward and simple, but we are given the same choice. We have the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, but some people still turn it down! God gives us the choice to follow Him and embrace His grace. We can choose to turn Him down, but it sure does make our lives a lot better if we follow Him!
Ask: What kinds of positive blessings do you think God offers us for following Him and obeying His Word?
For young children, it might not seem like there’s much choice in the matter of faith, when it comes to things like attending church or doing what the family does. But it can still be emphasized that God loves our prayers and hearts that are close to Him. We can make positive choices like obeying parents and loving friends and neighbors, and those choices will bless Him, bless us, and bless others!
Note: it can seem like this is a “works-focused” lesson discussing the things that we do to obey God. Emphasize that He has first loved us and gives us good things. God chose us and loves us, and He wants what is best for us. He wants to bless us, and gave us Jesus, the best blessing of all! We make mistakes, but God will always forgive those mistakes and welcome us back into His family.
Close with prayer, asking God to help us make wise choices and be obedient to His calling in life.
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