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How to live in God’s world: The fruits of the spirit

Through the Holy Spirit God’s character is created in us

Rationale

In the beginning God created us to be like him, Gn 1:26, 27, and in Jesus we are again created new in the image of God, Col 3:10. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to create this character in us, 2 Corinthians 3:12-18. Hence these character traits are the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:16-25, and they are different aspects of God’s character being created in us by the Spirit which is a fulfilment of God’s plan in the beginning that we would be like him. To see these in action Jesus is our prime example. Students at this age are still focused largely on their immediate relationships, and so how the fruit of the Spirit is to be expressed in our lives should start there and work outward to give them a wider perspective on life.

Key Concepts

  • We are all created in God’s image and designed to be like God, to know God and to express God’s character
  • Sin separated us from God and marred the image of God in us
  • In Jesus we are forgiven so we can know God, which opens the door for the work of the Holy Spirit
  • The Holy Spirit is God living in us, and he is the source of the this new life as he renews the image of God in us
  • Note: We grow by walking in the Spirit, not by working harder at being good, so while we can and should focus on different aspects of how Jesus wants us to alive, the key is Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, not a set of rules or spiritual exercises. Always bring it back to Jesus in us.
  • Walking in the Spirit means to walk in love, in faith and in obedience
  • This work of renewal will be completed in the day Jesus comes for us
  • The fruit of the Spirit is not optional, it is the expression of a real relationship with God and needs to be expressed in concrete action

Scripture References

Genesis 1:26-27 - created to be like God
John 3; 4, 7:37-39; 14-16, 20:19-23 - various passages detailing the work of the Holy Spirit
Acts 1 and 2 - the coming of the Spirit and the change in the disciples
Romans 8, 12 - major chapters on the work of the Holy Spirit and our need to be renewed
1 Corinthians 13 - love as the embodiment of the Fruit
Galatians 5:16-23 - the Fruit of the Spirit
Psalm 1- an OT way of describing walking in the Spirit, this time by focusing on the Word as the earns by which we receive God’s life
Ephesians 3:14-21; 4:1-5:21  - summary of how we should love as Christians (See also Philippians 2 and Colossians 3,4)
2 Peter 1:1-11- another way of summarizing how our character changes
Each of the various examples of the Fruit of the Spirit can be studied and many references can be found to fill out the idea.
Fruit of the Spirit passages: 

Love:- 1 Corinthians 13 (Love is an action word, not a feeling)

Joy:- Acts 3 – healing of the lame man, Acts 16 – Paul and Silas were joyful even in prison (Joy is not dependant on circumstances)

Peace:- Do not worry – Matthew 6:19-34, Phil 4:6-7,

Patience:- Job, Abraham and Sarah had to be patient for God to keep his promise

Kindness:- David and Mephibosheth,

Goodness:- Philippians 4:8,

Faithfulness:- Hannah (1 Samuel 1), Ruth
Gentleness:- Proverbs 15:1, John 8:1-11 (Jesus and the woman caught in adultery)

Self-control:- 2 Timothy 1:7,

 

Resources

http://www.wingclips.com/ - search according to the Fruit in view, for example kindness or gentleness. You can also search according to a scripture reference
See websites on various NGO's which have based their activities on Christian principles e.g. World VisionCompassion Australia
 
YouTube examples
There are a variety of social experiment videos on social justice themes which are useful, e.g.

Ideas/strategies for lessons

Watch videos to learn songs
Videos for instruction followed by a quiz; students create quiz, have a game show format
Create a video to to their own lesson or perhaps to create  song to teach the class
Social experiment video followed by discussion
Create a tree with a variety of fruit, children can all draw, label and cut out a piece of fruit for the display. Discuss how a Christian who is filled with the Spirit will display many different kinds of fruit but they all come from the same tree, the same life source, which is the Holy Spirit, who is God
Discuss Psalm 1 and Eph 3:17, showing how those who are rooted in God’s love will produce fruit. Science link- place some flowers in different coloured water and have students observe results. Discuss how this shows that what we take in, will influence what comes out.
Teach them how to pray and how to read the Bible as ways of meeting with God, getting to know and so begin changed to be like him.
Have quiet times in class, where they can go on their own for 5-10 mins and pray and read a part of the Bible and then come back to share
Create scenarios in which show they have to decide how to act and which of the various fruits of the Spirit are applicable or should have been applicable
Create a skit (or movie) displaying one of the fruits of the spirit.
Find movie clips displaying one of the fruits of the spirit in and have students identify which fruit was displayed.