I am excited about this summer series that I am beginning to teach this Sunday during our children’s worship service called theROC. ROC stands for Reaching Others for Christ. Our kids are learning to know God through His Word, how to walk with God by faith, and how to share that faith with the people around them. It has been neat to see the way that the Word of God has changed the hearts and minds of these kids.
This summer, we are going to study the fruit of the Spirit. I love how fruit is singular. The fruit of the Spirit is love. The rest of the attributes mentioned after love are the characteristics of love. Our goal this summer is to study this fruit and its characteristics to learn what love looks like and how we can attain it and live by it. Our main passage for the summer is Galatians 5:19-23. Now that you have had a chance to read the passage, let’s see what we learn.
I. Fruit is a manifestation of the root
There are two kinds of fruit that your life will produce. You are born with a sin nature that produces sinful fruit. Paul gives us a running list of the fruit of your sin nature. If these are being manifested in your life, then the logical conclusion is that you are being led by your sin nature. You are living by your sin nature. The following list is not the full list mentioned but, it is the kid friendly one 😀 The others deal with sexuality and that is not a topic that I want to deal with for 1st and 2nd graders 😀
- Idolatry – Is there anything in your life that comes between you and your relationship with God? They could be noble things. They could be vices. They could be anything. If they come between you and God then they are idols. Some idols that we are prone to are; 1) money 2) television 3) video games 4) computer 5) sports
- Sorcery – This is manifested in a couple of ways. It can be via spells to try and manipulate your surroundings. How many books, movies, and cartoons are there out there that teach kids that this kind of stuff is okay? It can also be manifested in mind altering drugs. How many of our kids are on mind altering drugs to “calm them down”?
- Hatred – The desire to hurt others because of your own selfish desires.
- Fighting – This desire to hurt others is manifested in fighting, both physically and verbally.
- Jealousy – This is being upset because someone got something and you did not. Instead of rejoicing with that person, you get upset.
- Anger – This plays off of hatred. Being angry is not a sin. Being controlled by anger and acting out of anger is sin.
- Rivalry – Because of your selfishness, you always try to make yourself look better than those around you. You want to be the center of attention.
- Division – This rivalry leads to cliques where one group is against another. Fighting usually occurs.
- Envying – Not only are you upset at what others have, you want it and if you cannot have it, you will destroy what they have so that the other person can be miserable with you.
- Murder – This is another manifestation of being controlled by anger. The biggest way that this is manifested is in our hurtful words to others. The Bible teaches us that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Are you building others up with your words, or, are you tearing them down.
Are these characteristics of your life? Are these qualities being manifested day by day? If so, you are being led by your sin nature. You need the Spirit of God to produce love in you and through you. How is that possible? You must be born again.
Jesus talks about this new birth. James speaks of this new birth. It is a new birth that comes from above. When this new birth takes place, God changes your nature. You receive the Holy Spirit which is the only thing that can produce God’s love in you and through you.
II. The Spirit produces the fruit
According to Galatians 5, the fruit of the Spirit is love. Once a person has been born again, He has the Holy Spirit. Now that the Holy Spirit is in that person, the Spirit begins to manifest the fruit of love, agape love, the love of God that only He can produce. What does love look like? How is it manifested?
- Joy – Instead of anger and hate, I know produce joy. I have the joy of the Lord and I am not longer looking for satisfaction in idols. I am not worried about circumstances that are in God’s hands so I stay away from sorcery.
- Peace – With the lack of anger and hatred that leads to conflicts, I am able to have peace in every circumstance of life. I am content with God and no longer need idols.
- Patience – Now that I have the Lord’s patience, I no longer lose my cool with the people around me, getting angry at them and lashing out causing fights and divisions.
- Kindness – I am now able to act kindly toward others, even when they do not deserve it.
- Goodness – I become useful to the people around me because I know longer live by my own selfish desires. I seek to love and serve those who are around me, for their good.
We will cover these in more detail throughout the summer. What does the love of God look like?
III. Love is the fruit
In order to see what God’s love is like, let’s take a look at I Corinthians 13:4-8. Now that you have had a moment to read the passage, let’s see what we can learn.
- Patient – does not lose heart no matter what it has to go through to ensure the best for the recipient
- Kind – useful to the recipient, does what it can for the benefit of the recipient, puts the recipient’s needs first
- Rejoice in Truth – join in with the Truth, encourages in the Truth
- Bearing all things – rock solid, especially when heavily taxed
- Believing all things – faith to see the potential that the recipient has
- Hoping all things – able to see the finished product in the future even if it seems impossible
- Enduring all things – in it till the end
- Never failing – does not run away or crack under pressure
- A choice
Are these qualities of your daily life? Are you patient with the people around you? Are you useful to the people around you, or, are you too selfish to be useful to anyone but yourself? Do you live the Truth and teach others to do the same? To you see potential in all people, the way that God does? This is what love looks like. You cannot produce this on your own. God has to produce it through you. In order to manifest these qualities, you must have the Holy Spirit, which God gives to you when you are born again. Have you been born again? Which qualities are manifested through you, the fruit of sin nature or the fruit of the Spirit?
May the Lord help us examine our fruit to see if it is of the flesh or of the Spirit. If it is of the flesh, may we repent and bow our knees to Jesus as Lord in order to be born again from above, receiving the Holy Spirit and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit.