Kids’ Bible Lesson on Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control
Published: October 5, 2022
In this Bible lesson, kids explore the fruit of the Spirit and discover how to have self-control.
- markers, including red markers
Have a Color Challenge
Say: I’ve got a challenge for you. For the next minute, don’t think about the color red. Start a timer. As the minute ticks by, say: Don’t think about roses or stop signs. Don’t think about apples. Try not to think about hearts or strawberries. Don’t think about cardinals or cherries or firetrucks. Don’t think about blood. Try not to think about tomatoes or licorice. Don’t think about Clifford the Big Red Dog. Don’t think about lobsters. Repeat this list until the minute is up.
- So how did you do?
- Why was it so hard to follow my instructions to not think about the color red?
- Have you ever felt frustrated because you want to show self-control, but you just don’t feel like you can? Talk about that. Share your own story first, such as oversleeping even though you try really hard to get up on time or eating a whole row of Oreos when you planned to eat only two cookies.
After kids have shared, say: The Bible describes the lack of self-control in a unique way.
Read Proverbs 25:28.
Say: Clearly, self-control is important. And we’re learning that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. But do you ever feel like maybe God skipped giving you that fruit? Like you just can’t help what you do? What do we do when we don’t have self-control? Let’s dig in to that.
Say: First, think of an area where you need more self-control. It could be limiting your screen time, not overeating junk food, talking less in class, not saying things you shouldn’t say, or anything else you can think of. You don’t need to say what it is—just get it in your head. Pause for kids to think.
Say: Let’s learn about one tool the Bible tells us to use when it comes to self-control and see what that really looks like.
Read the first sentence of 1 Peter 1:13.
Say: This Bible verse tells us to prepare our minds. Let’s try that with our color red challenge. I’m going to do the exact same thing I did before, but first you’ll have time to prepare.
Distribute paper and markers—but not the red ones!—and have kids each make a list of things they can think of that are other colors; for example, blueberries, car tires, puppies, and the sky.
Say: Now that you’re prepared, let’s try it again. As I say all those red things you’re not supposed to think about, tune me out! Use the list you prepared to think of things that are other colors. Ready?
Start the timer, and repeat the same list of red things from before. After a minute, stop.
- What difference did it make to be prepared with a list of things to think about?
Pray for Self-Control
Say: Sometimes we know we’re going into a situation where self-control will be hard. Maybe self-control in class is hard for you, and you know tomorrow is going to be an extra boring school day. If you know ahead of time that you’ll need self-control, plan ahead and pray ahead. Plan how to make good choices, and pray for God’s strength to do it. Let’s try it now. Close your eyes and picture a situation where self-control is hard. Now imagine yourself showing self-control.
Pause for about 30 seconds for kids to think.
Say: Self-control isn’t all about us trying harder; it’s about God working through us! So take some time to ask God for his help in a situation you have coming up where self-control might be hard. Allow time for prayer. If children struggle with prayer, Friends With God: Discover How to Pray is a great resource that shows kids just how easy it is to talk with God—anytime, anywhere, and in so many ways.
Say: A second tip about self-control comes from Jesus himself. We’ve learned that he showed self-control by staying on the cross even though he had the power to leave the cross. So how did he do it? There’s a verse that tells us! Listen and see if you can figure out how Jesus was able to stay on the cross.
Read Hebrews 12:2.
- What was Jesus’ secret? How did he have self-control?
Say: This verse says that when he was on the cross, Jesus was focused on the joy awaiting him. In other words, instead of focusing on the few hours of pain he had to suffer, he focused on the big picture!
Ask God for Help
Say: When we put the things that feel out of control in perspective, we can focus on God and his plan for us to have self-control. Let me show you what I mean.
Set out red markers. Give each child a new piece of paper, and have kids make a small red dot somewhere on their papers. Then have kids use other colors to make cool mosaic patterns all around the red dots.
- How hard would it be not to think of red while looking at your picture?
Say: Sometimes we’re focused on the things that make it hard to have self-control. We want to talk to our friends instead of listening to the teacher, so we focus on that. There are definitely distractions that make self-control hard. But instead of focusing on those “red dots” in our lives, we can ask God to help us see the bigger picture.
- What’s a big-picture thing that can help you refocus when self-control is hard? If kids need an example, continue the example of listening to the teacher. Kids can consider how important a good education will be in their lives and how God could use what they’re learning to help them get a job that makes a difference for other people.
Say: Put your finger on the red dot in your picture as I pray.
Pray: God, help us ignore the “red dots” that make us feel like we don’t have self-control. Help us focus on your big plan and your desire for us to have self-control. Thank you that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This lesson excerpt comes from Group’s Dig In curriculum. For more lessons on the fruit of the Spirit, check out these articles!
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