The particular lesson focuses on the “Fruit of the Spirit” that God produces in believers. It challenges children to examine the outcome of their lives. This lesson plan was first prepared for a Children’s Church setting, but would work well as a Sunday School lesson also. Through a Bible lesson, corresponding games, and an art project, students will learn to identify the fruits of the Spirit and reflect on their own standing with God.
Bible Story: “Good Fruit, Bad Fruit: Which Tree Are We?”
Scriptures: Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 12:33-34
Target Age Group: 1st – 6th grade
Time: 45-60 Minutes
Optional: Try our Fruit of the Spirit game idea.
Learning Activity #1: “Good Fruit, Bad Fruit” (Bible Lesson/Game)
Supplies needed: 2 pieces of fruit (one rotted, one perfectly ripe), Bibles or references listed as a visual, apple patterns written out ahead of time with scenarios written on each (see below for suggestions), tape
Hold up two examples of fruit to your students (a piece of rotted fruit and a piece of good fruit). Say: If you had the choice, which piece of fruit would you eat: The nasty, disgusting, rotting, smelly fruit or the perfectly ripe, delicious, sweet smelling fruit? Why?
We can learn from these pieces of fruit that some fruit is bad and some is good. That might seem obvious to us, but God has a lot to say about bad fruit and good fruit in the Bible.
So far in our lessons on the Holy Spirit, we’ve learned Who He is, Where He can be found, and How He works in our lives. Today we’re going to learn a little bit more about What He does.
Please turn with me to Galatians 5:22-23. You may have heard this verse a million times. I know I have! But let’s figure out what it really means today.
Read the verse collectively out loud as a group. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Let’s say that we have accepted Jesus as our Savior. When we do, the Holy Spirit makes His home in our hearts. As we grow in Him, we are like a tree that keeps growing and producing fruit. Hold up your arms as if they are branches and look at them. Hmmm… We might not see any oranges or bananas hanging from these branches (and if we did, it would be really cool and handy to grow fruit on your arms, but I think there would be a problem.)
But, we should see the fruit of love, joy, peace, forbearance (that means patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Now I’m not going to be perfect because I still have a sin nature, but every day you should see more of these fruits in me. And, if the Holy Spirit lives in your heart, I should see these fruits in you.
These are examples of good fruit in our lives. Now let’s talk about the bad. Maybe the Holy Spirit does not live in our hearts. Or maybe He does, but we are not following Him like we should. If that describes us, we’re going to produce bad fruit.
The Bible says that bad fruit looks like these things: paying more attention to everything else but God (that’s idolatry), hating people, not getting along, being dishonest, wanting what others have (jealousy), being angry, being selfish (only thinking of you!), fighting, complaining, arguing, and using your tongue for evil, just to name a few.
So let’s try to figure out what fruit is good and what is not so good.
“Which Fruit Game”: Have two volunteers or leaders spread out their arms like branches. Place a sign on each human tree reading “Good Fruit” on one and “Not So Good Fruit” on the other. Distribute apple patterns to each student with examples of good and bad fruit written on them. Have students read his/her apple and tape it on the corresponding tree. (If students are not confident readers, read for them.)
Here are some suggestions that you can include:
Asking questions about God’s Word because I don’t understand
Trusting in God even when I am worried
Not getting upset with my little brother when he destroys my stuff for the fifteenth time
Deciding to help my mom clean the toilets
Being gentle with my gerbil Fuzzy instead of tearing his fuzz off
Learning to thank God instead of complain
Helping the new girl make friends at school
Loving Jesus and wanting to do what is right
Singing to God with joy in my heart
Not So Good Fruit:
Complaining to my Grandma about having to come to church
Picking fights with kids at school
Being usual grouchy me – DO NOT WAKE ME UP OR YOU WILL BE SORRY!!!!
Wanting someone else’s stuff so much that I steal it
Give me that remote and give me it NOW!!!!!!
Playing video games until I turn blue
Talking back to my parents
ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! I am the most important person in the universe! Treat me that way!
Watching that show that my parents don’t like me watchingWe all could tell the difference between Good Fruit and Not So Good Fruit. You guys did a great job with that! But can anyone tell me what makes the Fruit bad? (Invite varied responses: the tree itself, sin, Satan, not having strong roots, the soil, etc.)
In Matthew 12:33-34, Jesus says, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” I love here how it says that, “A tree will be recognized by its fruit.” That means we will know what kind of tree it is by the fruit it has on it.
Applaud students for their discernment! Hold up the two pieces of fruit again. Say:
In another part of Matthew it asks, “Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” I might add, “Can you pick an orange from a Poison Ivy plant?” Umm…. Please don’t try this at home. No, of course you can’t!
(Show pictures of different fruit trees. Have students guess what kind of tree is pictured.)
So…. What kind of tree are you? Are you a good tree with healthy fruit? Or are you a bad tree with rotten fruit? Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to be made right with Him? Or do you think that you can have good fruit on your own?
Remember that a tree is recognized by its fruit. You cannot live life without God and produce good fruit. You cannot be the “good” person that God desires on your own. You need the power of the Holy Spirit to work in you and through you. Only then, will you produce the kind of fruit that we call the Fruit of the Spirit! It is His work in you – nothing that you can do by yourself.
Let’s work together to live our lives for God. As we grow in the knowledge of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will produce fruit in our lives. All we have to do is love Him! The Holy Spirit does the rest!
Learning Activity #2: “The Circle of Fruit” (Game)
Supplies: nametags with the Fruit of the Spirit written on them (optional)
- Divide students into groups of nine, if possible. Use adult helpers as needed. (The game can still work if numbers are not perfect.)
- Seat the students in a circle. Assign each child a Fruit of The Spirit, either verbally or with a nametag. If necessary, make adaptations to meet the size of your group by having one child be “Galatians”, another be “Chapter 5,” and another be “Verse 22,” and “Verse 23.”
- All of the students should be seated in the circle, with one standing in the middle.
- The first student will say their fruit “Love” and then someone else’s fruit “Patience”.
- The competition comes when the student in the middle tries to “tag” the second person “Patience”, before he/she can say “Patience” and “Self-Control”. If “Patience” is tagged, he/she gets to be the person in the middle. If not, play continues with each student listing their own fruit and another’s fruit as well. If a student is in the middle for a long period of time, swap him/her out.
- The game can continue as long as time permits or until you feel as though they have a fair grasp of the Fruits of the Spirit.
Learning Activity #3: “Fruit Tree” (An Art Project)
Supplies: each student will need one of the following: a plastic cup, small twigs, a ball of Play dough or modeling clay, multi-colored construction paper or card stock leaves (hole punched), string or yarn pieces for tying, markers, crayons, or colored pencils, a printed label that reads “Fruit of The Spirit Tree” (optional), a large zip-lock bag for easy distribution of supplies (optional), and one example of a completed project
- Secure the twig into the ball of Play dough or clay and firmly press into the plastic cup.
- Write the Fruits of the Spirit on the leaves provided.
- String yarn pieces through holes on leaves. Attach leaves to tree by tying a bow or a knot.
- Affix “Fruit of The Spirit” label to the front of the plastic cup.
Bonus Activity: “Fruit Cup” (A Snack - Yum!)