At the beginning of January, my boys and I began studying the fruit of the Spirit. They have memorized Galatians 5:22-23, and we are learning about one “fruit” each day. Comparing the results of a heart changed by God to fruit is pretty abstract for kids the ages of mine, but we have been able to find a few ways to make it more concrete!
On the first day, an illustration presented itself when I cut open a pear to eat…
Yuck! I don’t know what would cause a pear to grow like this, and I haven’t taken the time to google it :-), but something was obviously wrong with the pear tree or the seed to make it turn out this way!
Just as this pear did not have the proper means to grow, we cannot demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) if we do not have the Spirit in our hearts! We need to be transformed from dead trees to living trees who are able to bear fruit! (Ephesians 2:1, 4, 5)
Today, we studied patience, which fit well with all the sibling fighting we have been having…
The notes in my John MacArthur Study Bible say that patience is “the ability to endure injuries inflicted by others and the willingness to accept irritating or painful situations.” This definition really made me think. I tend to think of patience as something that I can muster up when I need it. Patience can feel like a very external thing sometimes – as in, I’m demonstrating patience if I don’t yell when my children do something extremely frustrating. That doesn’t seem to be the concept here! Patience is a settled attitude of the heart. Calmness in a storm knowing that God will give us the ability to endure.
Aidan has been doing jumping jacks indoors to burn off steam while it’s so cold outside, and we discussed how he is gaining endurance in how many jumping jacks he is able to do. He can do more in a row (76!) than he could on the day that he started doing them. Likewise, he and Gresham need endurance when it comes to treating each other the right way. I pointed out to Aidan that he often responds with kindness to the first infraction, then blows his top if his brothers don’t stop their bothersome behavior. He needs endurance to keep responding the right way.
How do boys (and moms!) get this endurance?
By meditating on God’s Word.
By praying for victory over sin.
By practicing godly behavior so that it becomes a habit.
My prayer is that my boys will see the fruit of the Spirit as a heart issue, and not as a checklist of good behavior so that God will be happy with us. I keep pointing out to them that it’s the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the Good Boy or even the fruit of the Christian.
Trying to be good so that we can perform up to God’s standard is exhausting and frustrating, because we can never be good enough. Thanks be to God that He forgives us and changes us!
Linked to Growing Godly Men
Angela Scarborough Jan 14, 2011
I love to read your blog, keep up the great work. Thanks for sharing your heart and a little bit of your lives.
Melissa Jan 14, 2011
Followed your link on MOB. Thanks for sharing. I recently did the Beth Moore study about the fruit of the spirit and I learned so much. I hadn't really thought much about teaching my 3 year old son this. Thinking it would probably be too hard for him, but what a great way to teach character! I will be looking for ways to work on this with him.
Sarah Jan 15, 2011
Thanks for your comment!
My middle son is 4, and most of what we were doing was lost on him, but he did absorb some of it! Yesterday, we drew a tree on paper and added fruit which we labeled with the fruits of the Spirit. I asked Gresham what kind of fruit he wanted on his tree (to see what he was thinking) and he said, "Good fruit! Like pears! Not-being-rude-pears! So, he's learning something! I think repetition is important at this age - repeating the same lessons over and over and building spiritual vocabulary. The concepts will come in time!
Laura Jan 15, 2011
"Not the fruit of the Good Boy" -- I like that! Love the way you're being intentional with your boys!
I have four sons. Come on over and see me sometime!
Mainstay Ministries Apr 20, 2011
That is really a great way to compare with the teachings of the bible and a fruit. You are really creative and innovate.
Kaye Swain May 24, 2011
How fun! My grandsons and I had fun with the Fruit of the Spirit Bible memory verses a couple of years ago and I shared many of the resources, a song or two, clipart and more at SandwichINK. This year we are working on the Ten Commandments for kids and grand children. It's fun for me to help me re-learn these vital and encouraging Bible verses along with them - tho they are much faster at it than this baby boomer granny nanny! Love your site - I SOOOO agree with your policy about BUSY grandboys - and grandgirls too! Have a blessed day.
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