When we look anywhere other than God’s word to define love, an extremely sinful and skewed view is the result. In this part 3 of the “Walk Series,” children will learn that loving God and others must influence our actions as believers. Also, it will be understood that “Walking in Love” requires sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to others and helping those who stray from what is right to see the truth. The children will learn that God remembers our actions of love and will reward us for obedience.
TARGET AGES: 10-14
OBJECTIVE: To learn that walking in love requires loving God first, loving others second, and loving ourselves last.
MAIN IDEA: We can’t truly love others if we don’t first love God with all of our being, and we must act on our love in obedience to his word.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: 1 John 3:10, Luke 10:27, James 5:19-20, Hebrews 6:10
MATERIAL(S): whiteboard, card stock paper, fine-tip markers, scissors, glue sticks, craft attachment
Introduction (5 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “Lord, teach us what it means to ‘walk in love,’ and give us the desire and strength to act on our love for you and others. Amen.”
PREVIOUS LESSON REVIEW: Remind the children of last week’s lesson on truth by asking, “What is truth (that which is factual for all people, at all places, at all times)? Who is the only reliable source of truth (God)?” Emphasize that the world’s sinful ideas about truth contradict the bible, so it’s important that we pray and read our bibles every day. Also, work on James 1:5 as a class to continue the verse’s memorization.
Lesson (20 minutes)
ICE BREAKER: “Types of Love”
Write the following headings on the whiteboard: Godly, Neighborly, and Family. Come up with at least four descriptions of each type of love by writing/typing them on large heart cutouts (suggestions included below).
Godly love: perfect, just, eternal, undeserved
Neighborly love: humble, helpful, sacrificial, intentional
Family love: protective, dedicated, sacrificial, affectionate
Divide the paper hearts among the children and ask them to first choose the four characteristics that only pertain to God and tape them under the heading. Say, “Now we will tape the additional hearts where they are most appropriate. Keep in mind that the same characteristic could go in more than one place.” Help the children as needed and then discuss/alter the heart placements before moving on to the lesson. Emphasize that each of these characteristics require action to truly show love.
- Say, “We just identified different types of love and their characteristics. Let’s read 1 John 3:10 to see what it says about love.” Read the verse and help the children identify that it addresses neighborly love. Ask them to come up with ways to “…love their brother(s) and sister(s).” Suggestions may include letting a friend go first on a game, helping a friend even though it is inconvenient, or giving up something to provide for a friend. Comment, “Many of the ways we show neighborly love are also ways we show love to our families. The important thing to remember is the bible tells us that people who are willing to love others are true children of God.” Add that “walking in love” means we will seek and be aware of opportunities to love others.
- Next, read Luke 10:27. Ask, “Who are we supposed to love first, or more than anything else (God)? How are we supposed to love him (with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind)? Who do we love next (others)?” Acknowledge that this verse doesn’t address loving ourselves, so “walking in love” requires denying selfishness. Further discuss how we are always required to show we love God first by clinging to what is good and hating what is evil. Say, “The world tries to tell us that we must accept others’ sin if we want to be loving. However, the bible tells us if we love someone then we will find an appropriate way to help them out of their sin.” Read James 5:19-20. Give an example from your own life when someone’s loving rebuke protected you from danger and drew you closer to God. Also discuss how loving others means we’ll share the saving message of Jesus Christ and walk the children through the process of leading someone to salvation.
- Lastly, emphasize that God sees, remembers, and rewards us when we “walk in love.” Read Hebrews 6:10. Ask, “How do we show God we love him (by helping others)?” Add that we should never pretend to love others simply to be noticed or to gain rewards. Comment, “God knows our motives when we act in love toward others, so we need to make sure our goal is to please him and not to get attention or praise.”
“Walk in Love” Craft: (15 minutes) *Attachment
Print both sheets of the “Walk in Love” attachment on card stock paper for each child. Using fine-tip markers, ask the class to come up with ways to show love to others and write one action on each miniature heart. Then the children will cut, glue, and color the hearts (if time allows) to remind them of ways to love others. Say, “Practice these actions to ‘walk in love’ this week!”
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: “Walking in love” requires selfless and sacrificial love that is freely given to God and others. We show God we love him by loving others, and he will reward us for our obedience.
CLOSING PRAYER: “God, continue reminding us to walk in wisdom, truth, and love. We know you remember our obedience, and we give you all the praise for the good things you are doing in our lives. Amen.”