Each Friday, we're going to introduce one of the fruits of the Spirit, along with a printable for Scripture memory, and hopefully some sort of game or activity to do with our kids. Then, on the following Monday and Wednesday, we'll be doing our normal play and eat activities and recipes, but they will go along with the FRUIT that we assigned each fruit of the Spirit to.
To start out this series is, of course, love.
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 (Gal 5.22-23).The great thing about the fruit of the Spirit is that we can't develop these things by simply trying harder. Instead, as we are more intentional with listening to the Spirit, praying to the Father, meditating on Scripture, and reflectively living, these are things that the Spirit will produce inside of us Christ-followers because we have the Spirit living inside of us. As I'm learning to let go of the "try-hard" life, this fact comes as a breath of fresh air.
Love, love, love. Makes us think of roses, hearts, and notes that we passed under our desks in 8th grade to the cute boy in the back row. Love can be romantic and mushy, but it's also something so much more. Love isn't reserved for our hotty husband or our cute kids or those amazing parents who brought us into this world. Love isn't reserved for our relationship with God. Instead, love is something that God pours out on us, His children, and then expects (and enables) us to pour out on all those that we come into contact with.
One of the most challenging books on love is 1 John. In one part, he writes,
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3.18).For all those times I just want to say, "Of course I love people", this is quick to remind me to reflect a little deeper into my heart, asking myself if I'm living out the words that I allow to roll off my tongue. Some days my actions don't look very loving, whether that be because I chose to overlook the need (emotional, spiritual or physical) of someone standing right in front of me or I'm just plain rude to people (well, maybe just inside my head). Some days I don't give people the benefit of the doubt and I sometimes assume the worst when it comes to peoples' intentions.
I'm so thankful for grace as we are "in process".... not quite the person we were made to be, but moving in that direction.
Loving with Words
As we talk about and live out what it means to love those around us, for most kids, family are the natural people to talk about. We decided to make up a game that includes family, love, and balls!
First, we got a ball and on each part, wrote a family member's or friend's name.
Then, we played catch. When each person caught the ball, they had to say one thing they loved about the person on whom their thumbs were.
Loving with Actions
One way that we work with our kids on troubling behaviors is through role-playing. By practicing various situations, they are often better prepared to respond in a positive way. For this, we made up some different scenarios that a 3 and 4 year old would reasonably encounter and then talk about what it would look life to show love in those situations. It may sound cheesy, but we sometimes ask, "How do you think Jesus would respond in that situation?" to help them better think through it. We also ask how they would want to be treated in the same situation.
Here's a .pdf with the scenarios we came up with. Feel free to use it!
Here are some printable files for scripture memory. You can choose one according to your child's level of retention or do all of them. Your choice!