College is a time for discovery. We ask a lot of questions— who am I? What was I made for? How do I do that? We also ask God a lot of questions—questions about who he is, what he is like, and why he does some things and doesn’t do other things.

These past few weeks, however, we’ve been asking a different question: What have we been missing? As followers of Jesus, we want to see the world the way he does, which often means taking a closer look at what our lives were made for. Yesterday, we broke down who we were made to be. Being rooted in solid truth about our identity in Christ is the foundation for everything else we do. If we know who we are—sons and daughters of God who were bought with a price, deeply loved and valued by God—then everything else in our lives can grow from a healthy place. When we choose to relinquish our identity to God, to allow him to define us, our lives become purposeful. So if God is a creator, and he chose to create us, then our next question is pretty simple: why? What exactly were we created for? To answer, we can go all the way back to the beginning.

The creation story in Genesis 1 gives us a glimpse as to why we were made. The Bible says in verse 27-28, “ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them; and God said to them ‘Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it…’”

So to begin, one reason God created man and woman was to tend to the earth. But the funny thing is, that seems like something God is completely capable of doing himself. And because we know how the rest of the story goes, it seems like something he could have done much better than human beings did. So why did God create human beings to do a job he could have done himself?

If we keep reading to Genesis 3, the serpent tricks Adam and Eve into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve’s eyes are opened to all kinds of things, and they hide from God in shame. And here’s where it gets interesting: in verse 8, it simply says, “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of day…Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (3:8-9).

God actually resided in the garden with Adam and Eve. God—the Almighty God, Creator of the universe— chose to walk around in the garden with the people he created. And even when they broke the one commandment he had given them, he seeks them out, calls to them, and clothes them. God wanted to be in relationship with his creation. From the beginning.

In short, we were made for relationship with God. His original design was to live in perfect harmony here with us on Earth, and even though from the beginning we chose sin and death, he still desires this relationship with us. If you read the story of Israel, time and time again God’s chosen people did not choose him back, and God continued to rescue them. He gave them commandments for purity as a way to make them righteous and fit for relationship, but they couldn’t keep them, so he sent his only Son to be in relationship with us here on Earth and to die for humanity—the perfect, pure sacrifice for our sins—so that we can be in eternal relationship with God (John 3:16).

God chooses us over and over again because his greatest desire is to create intimacy with us that was stolen when sin entered into the picture.

Psalm 18:18-19 says, “When I was at my weakest, my enemies attacked—but the Lord held on to me. His love broke open the way and he brought me into a beautiful broad place. He rescued me—because his delight is in me!”

1 Peter 2:9 tells us that “[we] are a chosen people. [We] are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.” We were made for more than simply existing. We were even made for more than simply “subduing the earth.” We were made for intimate relationship with God the Father by Christ the Son through the Holy Spirit.

In Ecclesiastes 3:11, Solomon tells us that “God has planted eternity in the human heart.” From the beginning, we were also made with eternity in mind. Our lives here matter and have value because of the eternal impact our actions and choices create.

1 Peter 1:3-4 says, “For his fountain of mercy has given us a new life—we are reborn to experience a living, energetic hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We are reborn into a perfect inheritance that can never perish, never be defiled, and never diminish. It is promised and preserved forever in the heavenly realm for you!”

So we can also say we were made for more than simply existing for a finite time here on Earth. We were made for relationship with God here on earth and forever in Heaven. So now what? What does this intimacy with God give us, and what does it lead us to do? While God created us all for relationship with him, he gives us each unique and individual callings as a way to live out our purposes here on earth, as it says in Ephesians: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created in us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (2:10).

The second half of 1 Peter 2:9 also says this: "As a result [of your identity], you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” While our callings may look different to each of us, we can know that from a true identity as sons and daughters who are in intimate relationship with God, we won’t miss the things that our blindspots often hide.

Author | Erin Gilleland