Fruit of the Spirit: Introduction
Over the summer our Bible lessons will be about the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law.” Before we start focusing on each of the traits Paul wrote about, I wanted to spend a week introducing the whole idea.
I think the most important thing to remember about the fruit of the Spirit is that we can’t “make” them grow in us any more than we can “make” apples grow on a tree. The first step is planting the seed in the ground. Is the Spirit living in us? I honestly don’t know how to answer that for my kids. I’ve taught them about Jesus and they believe the truth of the gospel, but they haven’t come to a point of decision saying, “Yes, I want Jesus to be my Lord. I want to follow Him.” Still I think their faith is true, if immature. So I do believe the Holy Spirit can work in their hearts.
Our job is to carefully tend our hearts (and those of our children). If we were trying to help a tree produce apples we would clear away any weeds that might hinder its growth, fertilize the soil, and make sure it got plenty of water and sunshine. With regards to the “fruit” of the Spirit, we carefully monitor the influences around them, feed them a steady diet of Scripture, and bring them to church with us so they can experience the presence of the Lord as we worship.
On our own we can only go so far in trying to exhibit the love, joy, etc. that naturally grow when we surrender our lives to Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to change our hearts. I want to be be careful throughout this series to make it clear that these virtues aren’t the result of our efforts; they come when we humble ourselves and let Jesus truly be our Lord. Along these lines, we read If Jesus Lived in My Heart by Jill Roman Lord, which talks about how having Jesus in us affects way we treat others and the choices we make.
My objective this first week was simply to familiarize the boys (especially Ian) with the names of all nine “fruit” in preparation for talking about them in greater detail over the next couple months. As usual, one of the most effective tools was music. We listened to our iPod playlist throughout the week as we played at home and drove in the car. By Friday Ian was singing along to most of the songs, so I’d say I met my objective! Here’s what was playing this week:
- “Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22 & 25)” from Hide ’em in Your Heart Vol. 2 by Steve Green
- “Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23)” from Scripture Rock Vol. 3
- “Fruit of the Spirit” from Fruit of the Spirit: Banana na na (Vineyard Music Kids)
- “The Fruit of the Spirit” from The Singing Bible
- “The Fruit” from Seeds of Character by Seeds Family Worship (I’ve heard a lot about these CDs. We’re just getting familiar with them, but I’ll probably be writing a post on them soon.)
- “Good Fruit” and “God’s Love in Me” from our SonHarvest County Fair VBS from a couple years ago (links to music played online)
- Karen & Kids podcast episodes “Fruit of the Spirit” Part 1 and 2
We played two games that helped plant the names of the fruit in Ian’s head. The first was a Fruit of the Spirit board game that is played just like Candyland. I just casually commented on what the pictures showed and how they related to the areas of love, joy, peace, etc. as we passed through. The second was a Memory Match game from Christian Preschool Printables which I printed and laminated. Elijah was able to match up the pairs. With Ian, we laid them all out upside down and played “memory.” He loves this type of game.
As we start exploring the individual “fruit,” each week we’ll focus on a particular Bible story as well as children’s literature that that help illustrate the concept. (I want to try to hit most of the Before Five in a Row books that we haven’t gotten to, but there are a few others as well.) I don’t think we’ll go quite as in depth as we have been during the regular “school year,” but we’ll see. I’m just trying to give myself permission to relax a little. Coming up next week: LOVE!
Posts on each week: