It’s challenging in our world today to raise godly children with a strong faith and commitment to God. Sadly, our society is gradually turning away from God and His principles. There is pressure from all sides to follow the ways of the world and not God’s ways. More and more, especially with social media as influential as it is, our children are being pushed to live like the world rather than like Christ.
I remember when our youngest son was a teen, he was struggling with his faith, trying to discern whether he wanted to follow the ways of the world or the ways of God. We were praying fervently, as we saw his struggle through his outward attitude and behaviors.
God is so faithful! Our son has shared with us that around that time in his life, he asked God to show Himself to him if He was truly real, otherwise he was going to live for himself and his interests. He was so close to giving up on his faith. But God DID reveal Himself to our son shortly after that prayer! He has grown to love the Lord with all his heart and currently serves Him full-time in a youth ministry in the heart of Chicago! I praise God for His work in our son’s heart!
As believers, we need to be diligent to help our children understand the importance of following God, or the world and the things of the world will draw them away from God. With God’s help, we need to pray for them diligently and help them learn to pursue the Lord with all their heart. And not only is it important to teach them about living godly lives, we need to model it in our own lives. Our mission as parents is to disciple our children like Christ discipled the apostles.
As we disciple our children, the first and most important goal we ought to have is to guide them into faith in Christ as their Savior and Lord. The Bible says that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone. He paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross and then rising again to be our Advocate, Savior and Lord. As we place our trust in Christ to save us from our sins, His Holy Spirit comes to reside in us to help us live the holy lives that God desires of us as His children.
As we teach our children God’s Word, a key passage that explains how we can live a life pleasing to God is Galatians 5. Verses 22-23 talk about the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit comes from the Holy Spirit who lives within us once we have put our faith in Jesus Christ.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
The fruit of the Spirit is a biblical term that summarizes the nine-character qualities that should be evident in the life of a Christian who is living by the Spirit (controlled by the Spirit of God). As a Christian allows the Holy Spirit to transform his or her life, these character qualities will become more and more evident. Remember that we can’t expect all the fruit to grow at the same rate or even at the same time.
Our spiritual fruit grows in much the same way as grapes ripen on a vine. If a cluster has nine individual grapes on it, they are all getting what they need to grow from the vine. But each one ripens at a different rate. Some may become fully ripe and sweet, while at the same time others are still green and sour.
Similarly, our spiritual fruit of JOY may be mature and very sweetly evident in our lives, while the fruit of PATIENCE may be much smaller and a little sour to others at times. God has a big word for this process—it’s called sanctification. It means we are set apart to become just like our Lord Jesus Christ.
God does the work of sanctification in our lives and in the lives of our children. As parents, we can be a part of that by teaching our children about God, His love for them and about having godly character. We can help make their heart fertile ground for God to plant the seeds of spiritual growth and the fruit of the Spirit.
With summer upon us, many of us consider this a time of less structure in our days, a relaxed season of fun and rest from school. That’s great! But may I encourage you to NOT take a break from spending time in God’s Word with your children.
Summer is the perfect time to spend extra time learning about God and about godly character with your children! Some routine in your day is still valuable and starting your day together looking at God’s Word is a great routine to continue!
I want to recommend a book called Growing the Fruit of the Spirit, written by myself and my dear friend, Kris Hage, written to help families study the fruit of the Spirit with their children. This book is for all ages, so it’s great to use for a family Bible time.
This study is meant to help you in the process of discipling your children so that they will live godly lives, serving the Lord with all their heart. Growing the Fruit of the Spirit is full of spiritual insights, stories, activities and scriptures to share with your children as you study these passages on the fruit of the Spirit. It makes learning God’s Word fun!
I’ve also written several blog posts about developing godly character in our children – these posts are full of ideas for how to develop them… character qualities like kindness, responsibility, gratefulness, etc. I encourage you to check these out too.
Whether you do Growing the Fruit of the Spirit or some other study, I pray you’ll see your children grow in their faith this summer and begin developing the fruit of the Spirit and other godly character qualities as you cultivate their hearts, allowing the Holy Spirit to help them grow!
Click HERE to download a free sample lesson from Growing the Fruit of the Spirit!