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How to Talk to Your Kids About the Fruit of the Spirit



One of the best gifts we can give our children is to anchor them in the truth that Scripture is reliable and relevant to their lives. One of these anchoring truths is learning about the fruit of the Spirit. Depending on the age of your child, you may begin by explaining that the fruit of the Spirit is a different kind of fruit, not like apples or bananas. The fruit of the Spirit are gifts that God gives us as we become more like Him, helping us live lives that please God, lives that show His love and who He is to others. Just like fruit grows from being connected to a vine, we grow in the fruit of the Spirit when we are connected to the Holy Spirit through putting our faith in Jesus. As our faith grows, our fruit will grow. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Galatians 5:22-23

When we talk with our children about showing love, we talk about treating others the way we want to be treated. In Mark 12:31, Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We want our children to learn that love is caring for the good of others and doing what is best for others. We were made to love God and love others.

Joy is gladness in our hearts that doesn’t change on sad or happy days. When we trust in Jesus, joy roots down deep in our hearts. It stays in our hearts even when we lose a game or have a hard day in school. If our joy is ever feeling small, we can ask Jesus to help us remember our reasons for having joy. When we think about everything we can thank Jesus for, joy grows in our hearts.

Peace is when our hearts are calm and not worrying. In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I give my peace to you… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” We want our children to learn that when we feel worries rise up in our hearts, we can give them to Jesus, and in return, He will give us peace. Our hope is for our children to know that Jesus is more powerful than anything and that nothing is too hard for Him. He loves us more than we can imagine, and He will always take the best care of us. In Jesus, we can have peace in our hearts, despite our circumstances. 

We describe patience as waiting with a joyful heart. Patience remembers that even when our plans are not how or when we want, we can understand and know that God loves us and He is in charge. The story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 from the Jesus Storybook Bible is helpful to read as a family as you discuss patience and trust in God’s plans and timing. When children learn patience in waiting for a snack or not being upset when a younger sibling wrecks a Lego creation, they are building muscles they will use to trust God’s story and His timing throughout their lives. 

We show kindness when we show love and compassion for others, caring about their needs more than our own, and looking for ways to be thoughtful friends. We can encourage our children that it is not always easy to be kind, but we can ask Jesus to help us to grow in kindness. Jesus always hears us when we pray, and He will always be our helper. 

We show goodness when we do what is right, even when no one is watching. The story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10 shows us that goodness sometimes means stopping our own plans to be a helper to someone else. Our goodness does not come from ourselves but from Jesus. Jesus is the only One who is always good, all the time. 

Faithfulness is being dependable and trustworthy toward God and others. We see peacefulness and strength in faithful people. They trust God and do the right thing, even when it’s hard. Faithful friends feel like safe friends who we can trust and who always want the best for us. We want to have faithful friends and be faithful friends. 

Gentleness is being strong enough to show tender kindness and care, even when it’s hard. Just as we talk about using our gentle hands or gentle voices around babies or puppies, we want to use tender kindness in the way we treat the hearts of others. We want our children to be strong and humble enough to respond gently when a friend hurts their feelings. When we’re gentle, other people feel safe and cared for around us. 

Self-control chooses to act, speak, and respond as God tells us to, even when it’s hard. Children often long for something to be in charge of. We can teach self-control as a way for them to be in charge of their feelings, with the help of Jesus.

When notice our children exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, call it out and celebrate those moments. When we’re working on an area in particular with one of our children, choose a fruit to focus on, celebrating as your children grow and showing grace for the journey. 

As we shepherd our children through growing in the fruit of the Spirit, Jesus is kind to be our own perfect Heavenly Father, lovingly showing us where we need to grow as well, equipping us with everything we need to raise the children He has entrusted to us. 

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Scripture References

  • Galatians 5:22-23
  • Mark 12:31
  • John 14:27
  • Genesis 37-50
  • Luke 10
Emily Gross Emily Gross works on staff at Passion City Church on our Family Ministries team, where she takes great joy in investing in the children and parents of our House. She met her husband Jake at Auburn University, and they live in Marietta, GA, with their three teenage daughters and yellow lab Sam. In this loud and full season of life, most afternoons and weekends find them at their girls' sporting events, driving carpools, and feeding people. Sam tags along as often as possible.