2. Fruit Filling
Items needed: two large sheets of butcher paper, markers, scissors, masking tape, construction paper fruit shapes, Bible
This activity demonstrates to kids how Christ’s character traits grow inside them as they grow closer in their relationships with God.
Spread out two large sheets of butcher paper, and choose a tall child to lie down, arms at his or her sides, on one of the sheets. Choose a smaller child to lie down, with arms extended overhead, on the other sheet of paper. Have the rest of the students trace around the two children on the paper. Attach both tracings, side by side, to a wall. Explain that the smaller child’s outline represents each of us and the taller child’s outline represents Jesus.
Stand in front of the two body outlines and say: We’re going to spend some time learning about gifts from God called “fruit of the Spirit.” But first we need to understand what fruit of the Spirit is! What do you think of when you hear that term, “fruit of the Spirit”? Allow children to guess. Say: Those are all good answers! These gifts, called the fruit of the Spirit, are seeds God grows inside of us to show others what his love looks like. They are seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All are things Jesus modeled for us to show us what it looks like to show love, to have joy, to be patient, and so on. And the cool thing is, when we accept Jesus to become Lord of our lives, God plants those seeds and they begin to grow! Think about how each of those things shows up in your life. Are you patient when you have to wait your turn in line? Do you show love to people who may not be so easy to love sometimes? Let’s think of some ways that we show those gifts right now in our lives.
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Before children arrive, cut out enough fruit shapes from construction paper for each child to have two. Write one gift of the fruit of the Spirit on each cutout, such as “love” or “kindness.” Set out markers for children to share. Have each child read which quality of the fruit of the Spirit is written on his or her cutout. Have older children assist younger children with reading. Encourage kids to write words or draw pictures of ways they show their assigned qualities to others. For example, if a student has “joy” written at the top of his or her cutout, the student could write or draw about encouraging someone who is sad by telling that person about Jesus, or by drawing that person jumping for joy or singing praise songs. When kids have finished, have them attach their completed cutouts to the smaller child’s outline.
Say: Wow! You all have so many awesome ways that you show others the fruit of God is growing in each of you! One way the fruit of the Spirit grows in our lives is when we see it growing in the lives of others—then we know what it’s supposed to look like and how we should behave. And when other people see those gifts growing in your lives, you’re showing them how God wants us to behave. God sent his Son, Jesus, to show us what our fruit should look like when it’s fully grown. When we read our Bibles, we can see the perfect example of what our fruit should look like and how we should live for God.
Encourage children to read the quality written at the top of their fruit cutouts. Have older children assist younger children with reading. Then have the kids write words or draw pictures that show how Jesus might have shown the assigned quality of the fruit of the Spirit. For example, if the quality listed is “love,” children could show Jesus hugging a child or could write about his death on the cross. When they’ve finished, have each child come up to the Jesus outline and attach his or her fruit cutout inside the outline.
Say: Those are all great things we can learn about the fruit of the Spirit by looking at Jesus! Remember, God sent Jesus to this earth to teach us how to live and to show us how to please God, right? So that means that the more we learn how to follow Jesus’ example—the more we get to know about him, the more we learn to love him, and the more we try to be like him—the more God’s love becomes part of us!
Open your Bible to Galatians 5:22-23a, and say: The apostle Paul tells us in Galatians, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—these all describe God’s love. And as we’ve just learned, the closer we become with Jesus every day, the more God’s love becomes part of us. And God’s love shows itself in us through…what is it called? Allow children to respond. Say: The fruit of the Spirit! The fruit of the Spirit grows in us, just as fruit that we eat grows on trees!
Use a green marker to draw a rough outline of a treetop at the top of the smaller child’s outline. Turn the outline of the student into a tree, using the child’s body as the tree trunk and his or her outstretched arms as the branches. Then have each child carefully remove the fruit they’ve just placed on the Jesus outline and place it at the top of the “tree,” in the branches of the smaller child’s outline.
Say: The fruit of the Spirit grows in us. Say that with me! Lead children in repeating the phrase. Say: Now we can see by looking at our two outlines how those parts of Jesus—God’s love—become part of us the closer we become with him. But why? Why would God want us to have parts of Jesus inside of us? (Allow children to respond.) Those are all good answers, but the main reason is that God gives us the fruit of the Spirit to help us show others what his love looks like.
Choose a child to read aloud John 15:4-5.
Have kids form pairs or trios to discuss the following questions:
• What do you think Jesus means when he says to “remain in me”?
• What kind of fruit do you think Jesus is talking about? Have you seen those kinds of fruit in your lives? When?
• Why can’t we grow the fruit by ourselves? Why do we want the fruit Jesus talks about?
Say: Our purpose here on earth is to love God and to show God’s love to others. God gives us the fruit of the Spirit to help us show others what his love looks like. The fruit of the Spirit is made up of various gifts that help us do a good job for our Father. Let’s find out what each gift does!