Living Out the Fruit of the Spirit: A devotional for kids and familiesGod, Devotional , Family
Contributed by: Compassion Canada
Every follower of Jesus is invited to live out the fruit of the Spirit. In this plan for kids and families, learn what the Bible says about each fruit, read stories of how kids around the world live them out and get practical suggestions about how you can live them out in daily life.
Day 1 of 9 • This day’s reading
The first in the Apostle Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit is love. What comes to mind when you think about love? Maybe you think of pink candy hearts. Maybe you’re known to say, “I love cookies!” or “I love basketball!” Maybe what comes to mind are the people you love, like your family and friends.
The Bible has so much to say about love. In fact, one of the most important truths we can learn from the Bible is that God loves us. Because of God’s love for us, we can share that love with others. 1 John 4:11 says this: “Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we should also love one another.”
But what does that look like? 1 John 3:18 helps us understand a bit better: “Dear children, don’t just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love.”
Brenda, Sandra and Juan are siblings and Compassion kids from Mexico. They shared about their love for each other:
“I love my siblings because they protect me and always play with me.” – Brenda
“I love my brother and my sister because they are always giving me the love and the support that I need during the good and the bad moments.” – Sandra
“I love my sisters because I have fun with them.” – Juan
Let’s be honest, we’re not always the best at showing love to the people closest to us, like our siblings. But living out the fruit of the Spirit starts with those closest to you—by putting your love into action with your family, friends and then letting it overflow from there!
Live it out:
How can you put your love for someone close to you in action today? Look at the examples Brenda, Sandra and Juan shared. Maybe a family member or friend needs support in a good or bad moment. Or maybe showing love simply looks like having fun together!
Dear God, thank you for loving us so much and showing us how to love others. Help me show love to others, starting with the people closest to me. Thank you for helping your followers live out the fruit of the Spirit. Amen.
Day 2 of 9 • This day’s reading
What do you think it means to be joyful? In today’s Bible reading, Paul talks about joy as being a fruit of the Spirit, or a way that God calls us to live. Many people think that joy means the same thing as happiness. But it’s important for us to remember that the kind of joy God calls us to is different from being happy all the time. In fact, did you know you can still be joyful when you’re having a bad day? You can choose it!
The kind of joy that God wants us to hold onto is the peace of knowing He is in control of all the details of our life. Choosing to be joyful means we can praise Him and know He is good, even when life is hard. Romans 12:12 says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” We can choose to have a deep-down kind of joy because we have the hope of Jesus!
Wachira and his little sister Watcharee live in a small village in Thailand. It’s a village that has a lot of poverty and struggle. But the adults of the community have made it their mission to help the kids of the village to find joy, even in their hard circumstances. Because of this, Wachira and Watcharee find joy in the little things.
“I help my parents to take care of the calves of our herds in the evening, and my close friends come along. Then sometimes we share rides on the water buffalo to have fun. My parents always tell me about hope and faith in God, and to have joy with what surrounds us. I always have fun in nature,” says Watcharee.
There is always joy to be found even when life is hard. God has given us all sorts of gifts around us to remind us of His love. We just need to find them!
Live it out:
How can you find joy today, even if you are feeling sad? What are the blessings around you that remind you of God’s care and love for you? Take some time to make a list of the things that bring you joy today. Share them out loud with your family!
Dear Jesus, thank you that even when I am having a bad day, there is always joy to be found in you. Help me to hold onto the joy that I have because I am your child. Help me to live with joy in my heart and to share it with others. Amen.
Day 3 of 9 • This day’s reading
What do you think it means to be at peace? To let the peace of Christ “rule in our hearts”? To be a peacemaker?
Sometimes, it’s easy to not feel peace at all. That was true for eight-year-old Neriana from Colombia at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. She felt worried and scared about the virus and about what all the changes in the world meant for her life.
Thankfully, she had a good friend in her life to remind her about the peace that Jesus offers us. That friend was her leader at her Compassion centre, Ester.
“When Neriana is sad, I encourage her through a Bible story and we pray together,” says Ester. “She enjoys talking to me about all the things that happen at home and I invite her to have fun by drawing and painting.”
“I really like it when Ester calls me because I have fun talking to her,” says Neriana. “I love when she sings me the song that says, ‘In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ I am no longer afraid because Ester taught me that God cares for me and my family.”
Do you have people in your life to remind you that God cares for you when you are worried or afraid? Maybe it’s a parent, friend, sibling, teacher or leader from your church.
The most exciting thing about this fruit of the Spirit is that we don’t just get to experience it, but we can share it, too. As others remind us about the peace of Christ when we need it, we can also become the friend who reminds others about peace!
As Jesus followers, wherever we see something that causes fear or worry, we can be a part of bringing peace. You see, peace isn’t just something we feel—it is something we are. We can be peacemakers, like Jesus talks about in Matthew 5:9.
Live it out:
If you’re feeling worried or afraid, talk about it with a grown-up who you trust. Ask them to help you remember that God always takes care of us.
Pray and ask God to help you let the peace of Christ rule in your heart. Think about ways you can share the peace of Christ with others, maybe by writing a note to someone who is worried or praying that others would experience peace.
Dear God, thank you for being with me when I am worried or afraid and reminding me of your peace. Help me to be a peacemaker in the world and share the peace of Christ with others who might be worried or afraid. Amen.
Day 4 of 9 • This day’s reading
Have you ever had to wait for something that you really wanted right now? Maybe you’ve eagerly waited for a birthday party for your best friend. Or maybe summer break couldn’t come soon enough!
A fruit of the Spirit that Paul calls out is patience. To be patient means to wait and endure with grace and peace, even when something takes a long time to come. In the Bible, there are so many stories of people who waited patiently on God. Over and over, God reminds His children that His timing is different than our timing. And, He reminds us that He sees us and hears us in our waiting.
Galatians 6:9 encourages us to keep doing what’s right and not give up on doing good, because in the right time—God’s time—we will see His goodness if we just keep going.
Eight-year-old Velove from Indonesia was encouraged to join a competition at her Compassion centre last spring. Her challenge? To grow spring onions at home! In the summer, Velove and her classmates were given seeds to bring home, plant, water and care for. After three months of planting and growing her spring onions, the time came for Velove and her friends to harvest their plants.
The class tutor inspected everyone’s plants, declaring Velove a winner! “I was surprised to be one of the winners of the spring onion planting challenge,” she says. “I feel satisfied because my patience paid off when my spring onions flourished.”
Just like Velove saw her onion plant bloom after a period of patient waiting, we can also expect that in God’s time, we will see His great plans for our lives come to pass. We just need to be still and know He is in control.
Live it out:
What is something you’re waiting for that you need help being patient with? What are some ways you can practice being patient? This week, ask God to help you with the things you are having trouble being patient with.
Dear God, thank you that you see me and that you have plans for my life even when it feels like what I’m waiting for isn’t coming. Help me to be patient in times when I would like something immediately. I know that you hear my every prayer. Amen.
Day 5 of 9 • This day’s reading
Kindness seems like a very simple thing, but it can be so powerful. Think of a time someone was kind to you. How did it make you feel? How did it change your day or your week?
We can be kind because God is kind, and the Bible tells us we are created in God’s image. That means that many of the traits God has, he’s given to us too—traits like kindness.
Colossians 3:12 tells us to put on kindness like we put on our clothes in the morning! What could that mean? Maybe it means that people should be able to see kindness in our lives, just like they can see the clothes we’re wearing. Kindness should be a way we express ourselves, just like we might express ourselves by wearing our favourite colour or a fun pattern.
One of the most powerful things about kindness is that it spreads. One random act of kindness can inspire another, and another, until the world is overflowing with kindness! One of the most powerful examples of this is when Compassion sponsored children grow up to sponsor a child of their own because they want to pass on the kindness they received as kids.
Aljon is a 23-year-old in the Philippines who was once a Compassion sponsored child. His dream is to one day sponsor children himself along with other graduates of Compassion’s program. “We received such a huge blessing as sponsored children, and we now want to give back by having sponsored kids of our own,” says Aljon.
Aljon is starting out by volunteering to write letters to sponsored kids whose sponsors can’t write to them. “It’s what I have always desired in my heart, to give back,” he says. What a powerful example of how the kindness of Aljon’s former sponsors has multiplied.
It’s a simple but powerful truth: kindness leads to more kindness! How can you start a chain reaction of kindness today?
Live it out:
Think of an act of kindness you can do for or with your family, then do it! Make sure to ask an adult for help if you need it. Who knows? You might start a chain reaction of kindness today!
Dear God, thank you for being kind to us and teaching us in the Bible how to be kind. Please show me ways I can be kind to others. Help me to start chain reactions of kindness wherever I go. Amen.
Day 6 of 9 • This day’s reading
How often do you use the word “good” in a day? “I’m doing good,” we say, when someone asks how we are. “That was good,” we say, after we eat a delicious dinner. We use the word “good” so much that we can start to forget what it really means!
But what does Paul mean in today’s Bible passage when he says that goodness is a fruit of the spirit? This kind of goodness is not about always “being good” and never making mistakes. Instead, the kind of “goodness” Paul is talking about is an invitation to join God in doing good in the world. It’s an invitation to spread what is good and true to the people and places we meet every day!
When Gabriela was just a little girl, she witnessed a lot of pain in her home. Her father did not take good care of her and her five siblings, or their mother. They grew up in deep hurt and poverty. Growing up in this kind of home, Gabriela felt like she would never escape.
After starting to attend the Compassion centre in her area, Gabriela’s life began to change. She received love, care and other necessities that she didn’t get at home. This year, Gabriela will graduate from her Compassion program, but she plans to give back the love and goodness she received in her time there.
Today she spends her free time teaching younger students about God’s love for them. She plans to also sponsor a child once she has a career.
Giving back out of the love you have received is God’s kind of goodness. How will you do good today?
Live it out:
Think about some ways you can spread goodness to your friends, family and other people around you today. Maybe it could be helping a friend with their homework, writing a kind note to a sibling or other family member, or offering to help make dinner. Write down some ways you would like to spread goodness and put them on your calendar to make sure you bless someone this week.
Dear Jesus, you have been so good to me in my life. Show me the ways that I can spread that goodness to other people in my life. Remind me that the goodness you call me to is not about being perfect, but about spreading goodness to the places you call me to. Amen.
Day 7 of 9 • This day’s reading
What do you think it means to be faithful? A good strategy we can use when we want to better understand what a word in the Bible means is to see what the different translations, or versions, of the Bible say. Try it out: look up today’s verses in different translations of the Bible and take note of what other words are used instead of “faithful”.
Some of the words we’ll find are trustworthy and dependable. To be faithful means that people can count on you to be there for them, to do the right thing and to be steady.
Like all of the fruit of the Spirit, we can see that God is the ultimate example for us: God is faithful. He is always there for us and His love for us is steady.
And He wants us to be faithful, too. In Luke 19, Jesus tells a story about a king who entrusted his servant with some money. The servant was faithful and trustworthy in taking care of the king’s money, and the king rewarded the servant because of his faithfulness.
In Kenya, a graduate of Compassion’s program named Miriam is practicing faithfulness in her job as a police officer.
Sadly, in Kenya, the police force is known to not treat people fairly, especially people living in poverty. But Miriam is trying to change that by practicing faithfulness. She wants to be trustworthy and dependable to the people and communities she serves. These are values she learned while growing up as a Compassion sponsored child.
What Miriam shows us is that faithfulness can be hard, especially when not everyone around you is being faithful. But those are the times when faithfulness is the most important. When we can be trustworthy with even the smallest things, that helps us practice being trustworthy when big things come our way, too.
Live it out:
What’s a responsibility that you have? How can you use it to practice faithfulness? Maybe it’s something as simple as faithfully making your bed every morning or being dependable to help with a chore at your house. Faithfulness starts with the small, everyday things in our life!
Dear God, thank you for your faithful love for us and for always being with me. Help me to be faithful, even when it’s hard, like Miriam, the police officer in Kenya. Thank you for giving me the strength, by your Spirit, to practice faithfulness. Amen.
Day 8 of 9 • This day’s reading
When you hear the word gentle, what comes to mind? Do you think of a soft, fluffy sheep eating grass by the hillside? Or white flakes of snow slowly falling from the sky in the winter?
The Apostle Paul names gentleness as the second last fruit of the Spirit. But though it is near the end of the list, it does not take away how important gentleness is in living like Jesus. You see, being gentle means to put others above ourselves, just like Jesus did. It means to act out of kindness and carefulness in how we speak to and treat others. It means to think about the words we use and know that they have a big impact on others!
Though it may sound easy, it takes a lot of strength to be gentle.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Fatire from Ethiopia became very anxious nervous. Every day, she was filled with fear of what would happen to her and her family. But when she started receiving regular phone calls from her Compassion centre, things started to change.
With gentleness and kindness, staff at her centre reminded her she was safe and that she wasn’t alone. They prayed for her and listened to her fears. Their gentle attitude towards her was exactly what she needed to feel herself again.
How can you use gentleness to help someone who is struggling today?
Live it out:
Take some time to talk to your family about a time when someone was gentle with you. How did it make you feel? Talk together about some specific ways you can be gentler with those around you. What kind of difference do you think this will make for those in your life?
Dear God, thank you for showing us what it means to be gentle. I pray that you would remind me of the power of my gentleness to others in my life. Help me to be careful with my words and to put others first so I can be more like you. Amen.
Day 9 of 9 • This day’s reading
Self-control isn’t one of the fruits of the Spirit that you’ll see printed on a phone case or t-shirt anytime soon—not like love or peace. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important. In fact, the apostle Paul left us with a pretty important one for last!
Proverbs 25:28 says, “A person without self-control is like a city whose walls are broken through.” In Bible times, cities had walls built around them. The purpose of those walls was to keep the people of the city safe—to make sure nothing bad came into the city and that no one left the city when it wasn’t safe, like at night.
So, what does this have to do with self-control? Well, self-control can keep us safe. Self-control makes sure nothing bad comes in—like when we stop ourselves from watching a movie that we know will be too scary for us. And self-control can also help us make wise choices about what comes out—like when we stop ourselves from saying something mean. That’s why the Bible compares self-control to a wall around a city!
Karunia is a Compassion child in Indonesia who has a disease called Apert syndrome. One of the things Apert syndrome affects is her appearance. Karunia looks different from other kids. Unfortunately, some kids choose to bully her because of this and say mean things.
While it’s probably tempting to say mean things back, Karunia has learned to root herself in the love of Jesus. As a result, she has developed the self-control to stand up for herself in a loving and truth-filled way.
“When my friends mocked me because I don’t have normal fingers, my mom taught me to say back to them that this is what Jesus gave me,” she says. “I am beautiful like my mother.”
Self-control helps us make wise decisions in difficult situations, like if we’re experiencing bullying. Instead of saying or doing mean things back, self-control helps us stand up for ourselves in loving and gentle ways. If you or a friend are experiencing bullying, it’s also important to tell a trusted adult about it so they can help.
Imagine yourself as a city. Do you have a wall of self-control around you keeping you safe and helping you make wise choices?
Live it out:
Think of a time you didn’t practice self-control. If you could do it over, what would you do differently? How can you remember to do things differently if there’s a next time?
Dear God, thank you for encouraging me and giving me the strength to do the right thing and make wise choices. Help me to have self-control. As I finish this devotional, I want to thank you for giving me your Spirit so that I can grow more each day into a more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled person. Help me to live out the fruit of the Spirit more each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
We hope this plan encouraged you! Explore other resources from Compassion Canada today.