The "fruits of the Spirit" are a list of qualities that Christians strive to have as part of their character. The nine fruits are referenced in the Bible in Galatians 5:22-23. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the characteristics of a Godly person. Christians of all ages can learn about the fruits and incorporate them into their value system from a young age.
Design a unit of lessons around using the actual fruit to get small children's attention using the fruit symbols shown at mssscrafts.com. Each week bring in a new fruit to taste such as strawberries to symbolize love or a soft peach to symbolize gentleness. Taste each fruit, color a picture of the fruit and choose activities and crafts that correspond to the fruit of the Spirit. As a culminating activity, bring in one of each of the fruits and combine to make a big bowl of fruit salad. Explain that each fruit is good on its own but when combined, its flavors mix with other fruit flavors and become something even more sweet and tasty, just like each of the fruits of the spirit combine to make a strong Christian character.
Children who a little older, such as elementary school age, have the retention for lessons over a longer time. Each fruit of the Spirit can be presented in a monthlong unit with games, crafts, bulletin boards, stories, songs and snacks. Some examples include making tomato stress balls with red balloons, flour and funnel. Remind children to use these stress balls when they are frustrated and tempted not to be gentle with friends and family. Make mini-cheesecakes with vanilla wafer crusts, a dollop of pre-made cheesecake filling and topped with cherry pie filling. This snack can help children remember the fruit symbol for peace. Review lessons with a beach ball game. Draw a fruit symbol in each section of the beach ball. Toss around the circle and ask children to name the virtue symbolized by the fruit or how they can show that virtue in their life.
Teens and Adults
Adults and teens can be reminded of the fruits of the Spirit in Sunday School or Bible study. Leaders can provide songs for each virtue such as "I've Got Joy in My Heart" or "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace." Snacks are appropriate for older students; each participant in the Bible Study can provide theme-related snacks for one lesson.Crossword puzzles and word searches can be fun to learn terminology and definitions. Assign reflection questions for homework to discuss at the next meeting. Ask participants to write down examples of people demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit during the week to bring to Bible study to share.
Susan King is a teacher with 27 years experience with all ages, grade levels and ability levels, including teaching in China. She has written a book, "The Road to Rebecca," about adopting from China. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She also has a ThM from Colorado Theological Seminary in Christian Counseling and recently received her PhD.