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