*This is a guest post by Lindsey Whitney from Growing Kids Ministry.
Going back-to-school is an exciting and challenging time for kids. They can make new friends, adjust to new teachers, and get back to a more structured lifestyle. It can also be a time of testing for their faith. This free Bible lesson will help children find strength in Christ when challenges arise. This teaching plan deals with issues such as temptation and resisting Satan’s lies.
Lesson Title: The Armor of God (at school)
Bible Reference: Ephesians 6
Printer Friendly: [print_link] this lesson.
Target Age Group: Kindergarten – 5th grade
Learning Context: Sunday School or Kids Church
Target Time Frame: 30 minutes
Supplies You Will Need:
- Bucket and strips of paper: Put inside the bucket common struggles for kids such as: Not doing homework correctly, leaving someone out, talking bad about someone, not listening to a teacher, being selfish with your stuff, not helping others, making fun of others, etc
- Items to represent those listed in the Armor of God (belt, helmet, sword, shield, shoes, breastplate). Look for toy versions of these items or make props from cardboard. For a simple alternative, use cutouts from this Armor of God activity.
- Alternately, you could print our free back to school coloring pages.
Suggested Kids Worship Songs:
- Armor of God by Go Fish
- People Be Strong by Group Publishing
- On the Move by Hillsong Kids
- Ready for the Battle Reba Rambo
Bible Lesson: The Armor of God
Well, kids – it’s here, the start of school! Some of you are already in school (raise your hand if that’s you), some of you are just about to start (raise your hand if that’s you) and some of you are waiting another year before starting school.
One thing many people do to get ready for school is go school shopping. I love back-to-school shopping so much, I did a little myself. I got some glue (show glue), crayons (show), and some books for my daughter (show). Of course, that was just for fun. You probably needed all the things that you go while back to school shopping.
Well, I’ve been thinking… there’s something everyone in this room needs for school that you probably haven’t even thought about. You need it (point to a child), you need it, and you need. Everyone needs it!
What is it? It’s the armor of God. Now, don’t sweat it if you’ve never heard of the armor of God. That’s what we’ll be talking about tonight! If you’ve brought your Bible with you, you’ll find the armor of God in Ephesians 6, and that’s what we’ll be reading from tonight (pause to let kids find it in their Bibles).
Okay, we’ll be starting in verse ten. Would someone like to read that? (Allow child to read) Hey, that sounds like a song we sang tonight, huh? So, God wants us to be strong, and He tells us how to do it too! In the very next verse, verse 11, the Bible tells us to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the devil’s tricks.
Bucket of Trouble
Now, you may be wondering what kind of things the devil might try to trick you into doing. To help us out, we’ve got this bucket of tricks… (put inside the bucket common struggles for kids such as: Not doing homework correctly, leaving someone out, talking bad about someone, not listening to a teacher, being selfish with your stuff, not helping others, making fun of others, etc). I’m going to pull a few out and I want you to think about if this thing is something maybe the devil tried to trick YOU into doing. (Pull out a few and read, pause to allow kids to think)
So, there are all kinds of tricks we need to be prepared to fight against. That’s why we need God’s armor! Let’s keep reading for more instructions. Verse twelve tells us our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces.
Have you guys ever seen one of those cartoons with a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other? No?
Suggested Video Clip
If possible, play the following YouTube clip for the children from the Disney film “The Emperor’s New Groove.” If you don’t have the technology, you could arrange a similar skit where children act a scene like this.
What was going on here? (Allow kids to respond). That’s kind of like how things go with us too… we want to make good choices, but something we struggle. It’s hard to always do the right thing. The devil wants us to do the wrong thing. That’s what the Bible is talking about in these verses – the devil tries to trick us, but God has given us a plan of attack.
Putting on the Armor
We’ve got to get ready for battle!
Now, if my assistant could come up (have adult leader or kid come to help), we’ll get this armor on!
Let’s check out verse 14 – can someone read it for me?
So, we start with the belt of truth – hand belt to assistant (you can try to be realistic or give them a crazy belt to wear). In order to fight the devil, we’ve got to know the truth. Where can we find the truth? (Kids respond). That’s right, in the Bible! (Hold up your Bible) So, all you have to do is carry this around, maybe stick it in your book bag, maybe stuff it under your pillow and you’ll be all set, right? NO! You’ve got to READ it to know the truth. Maybe read one verse or one chapter a day… read it by yourself or with your parents… read it at breakfast or dinner, or at bedtime – whatever you choose, the important thing is that you (help me out kids): READ IT!
Okay, now the breastplate of righteousness (stick on volunteer). Who can tell me what righteousness is? Doing the RIGHT thing. Sometimes it’s hard to know what the right thing is. What do you think we can do if that happens? (Read the Bible, ask our parents, ask a teacher, pray about it, ask the pastor).
You’ve got to have something on your feet. In verse fifteen, it says to have feet shod (put some shoes on) with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace. Now, this was a little confusing to me – so I took out my cool Bible tool, the commentary and read what it said about this verse.
(Read from NIV Application Commentary) It says:
- Willingness to share the gospel
- It also means a readiness for all of life, being careful about speech and actions
- Also, showing peace and love to others
Well, it wouldn’t be complete armor with a shield – verse sixteen says to take up the shield of faith so we can fight off Satan’s attacks. Now, back in the day – those shields were huge! My Bible commentary says about 4 feet by 2 ½ feet (try to show kids dimensions). And many times soldiers would line up next to each other and put their shields really close so nothing could get by. When they did this, they could push right over the enemy and not get hurt. We can learn something from that kids!
Sometimes we need more than just ourselves to fight against the devil. That’s why it’s important to choose good friends that will stand and fight with you. Friends who are also trying to do the right thing.
Our suit of armor is almost complete. Let’s take a look at what we’ve got so far.
- First, we’ve got the belt of _________________ (truth). Right! And where do we find truth?
- Next, we’ve got the breastplate of __________________ (righteousness). Very good. What does righteousness mean?
- Okay, here our feet are fitted with ___________ (readiness).
- We’re holding the shield of ___________________ (faith). And who do we have faith in? (God) It is our relationship with God, our faith, that protects us from evil attacks.
Our last two pieces are the helmet of salvation (put helmet on volunteer) and the sword of the Spirit (give sword to volunteer) and both are very important!
Our heads are pretty important, that’s why you have to wear a helmet for so many things. Riding a bike? You need a helmet! Skateboarding? Same thing! Playing football? Strap that helmet on! What are some other things we need helmets for? (Allow kids to respond). We wear helmets for all these things because our heads need protected! Our brain is pretty important! Likewise, salvation is our ultimate source of protection. When we are saved, we are a child of God, and we are able to see the tricks of Satan better.
I’m reminded of a movie… in the movie, one of the characters can control other people’s minds. He can read their thoughts and even make them do things. However, another one of the characters – Magneto, makes a helmet to protect his mind. Whenever he had the helmet on, the professor couldn’t read his thoughts. The helmet of salvation is like that. When we are saved, friends with God, Satan has a much harder time making us do bad things.
Last, we’ve got the sword of the Spirit, which the Bible tells us is the Word of God. We can fight Satan with the Word of God, the Bible! That’s why it’s important to memorize Scripture. When Satan tries to tell us to start a rumor about someone we don’t like, we can think of the verse that says, “Love your Enemies”. When Satan tries to tell us to blow off our homework and not do a good job, we can think of the verse that says “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” (Col 3:12). And if you can’t think of a verse, what Cool bible tool can you use? (Concordance)
I want us to read the last verse of this passage too, to finish out. Can someone read verse 18 for me? What does it command us to do? Pray! So, let’s head to prayer circle and do just that!