Welcome to Week 4 of the Summer Family Fruit Challenge! This week we are learning about GOODNESS! Below you will find a short devotional to read with your kids, a link to download Bible memory cards, and links to fun songs and activities that will help you teach your child about the Fruit of the Spirit.
Special thanks to our guest blogger today, KATIE J. TRENT. Learn more about Katie at the end of this blog post!
A DEVOTION ABOUT GOODNESS
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. – Romans 14:17-18 NLT
We’ve all heard it. “Be good.” Or, “were you good today?” And, of course, we know the answer our parents want to hear is, “yes.” But, what does it actually mean to be good? Am I being good if I follow all the rules? If I use my manners and say things like “please” and “thank you?” If I don’t get angry or throw a fit? If I do what my friends want? How about if I get straight A’s? Or score the winning goal?
This concept of goodness can be tough to understand. The Bible says goodness is a fruit of the Spirit. Goodness is not just “being good,” like following all of our parents’ rules (which is important). Goodness is in the way we live our lives, with honesty and excellence, as well as with love and humility.
These characteristics combine to help us live a life of goodness, but we can’t live a life of goodness on our own. We can never be “good enough,” otherwise, Jesus would not have needed to die for our sins. Believe it or not, this is actually good news. It takes some pressure off us. We can’t earn our salvation. It is a free gift from God when we believe in Jesus. And we don’t have to behave perfectly in order to show the fruit of goodness.
We need the Holy Spirit to help us live a life of goodness. It doesn’t happen by us trying really hard to be good, but by giving Jesus our whole heart and knowing we need His help every day. It happens through surrender, not striving.
The Bible says that living a life of goodness is not just about “being” good is also “doing” good. James 3:13 says “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.”
So, when you help your brother with his chores, you are doing good works. When you clean up the mess you made, you are doing good works. When you help your mom do the laundry, you are doing good works.
But we can’t just do good works in our own strength. Remember, God is working in you, to give you the desire and power to do what pleases Him! (Philippians 2:13).
So how do we know if we are growing in goodness? As we grow in goodness, we love others better. We are kinder. We give grace. We forgive. We also stand up for what is right. We make better choices, and we choose to do the right thing even when no one else is looking. We also do our very best every day, because we know we are serving God with everything we do.
This is hard. Really hard at times, but that’s okay. And we will mess up, a lot. But each day we get the chance to grow more like Jesus.
The more we get to know Jesus, the more time we want to spend with Him. That time we spend with Him gives us a better understanding of the goodness of God—which is how goodness begins to flow out of us. We see this goodness when we are kind to someone who was mean to us—when we help a person who hurt us—or when we put the needs of others above our own needs. And this makes God smile.
God, thank you for your goodness. Help me grow closer to you so your goodness can flow out of me too. Thank you for loving me no matter what. Help me show your goodness to others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
BIBLE VERSES ABOUT GOODNESS
1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
Romans 15:13-14 (NLT)
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them.”
Psalm 23:6 (NLT)
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 27: 13-14 (NLT)
“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
2 Peter 1:3-8 (NIV)
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Use these verse cards to help your children learn more about the Fruit of the Spirit. Read one each day and discuss what it means with your kids. Choose one verse card to memorize throughout the week. Print out the pictures of each “fruit” and display them in your home.
SONGS ABOUT GOODNESS
- Goodness – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWo8AoUIopw
- I Will Sing of the Goodness of God – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkSM530D7a0
- You are Good – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=433rOj7777k
- God is So Good – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlcsmEs6vfk
- Taste and See that the Lord is Good – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJdFKYZRxcM
GOODNESS ON THE INSIDE
Grab a banana for each participant (as perfectly yellow on the outside as possible). Use markers to decorate the outside of your bananas. Then, peel them and examine the inside. Explain that goodness is not about what we see on the outside of a person, or how well we behave, but about what is in our hearts. We can do good things with a bad heart.
SALTY SUGAR COOKIES
Make sugar cookies. Separate some of the dough and add a generous amount of salt to it before baking. Have your kids examine both cookies after baking and note that you can’t really tell the difference by looking at the outside, only by tasting what’s inside. It’s the same with our lives because we can do everything that looks and sounds good, but with the wrong motivation (jealousy, bitterness, complaining, manipulation, etc.). Goodness is when our heart and mind match our outward behavior.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES TO PRACTICE GOODNESS FROM FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
CHILDREN’S BOOKS ABOUT GOODNESS
(Amazon Affiliate Links to books below)
DOWNLOAD FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT PICTURE CARDS
Download a set of 9 picture cards, one for each Fruit of the Spirit. There are two cards on each 8.5×11 sheet of paper. Display them in your home to help remind your kids of the Fruit of the Week!
Our Family Fruit Challenge continues through the middle of August 2021! Be sure to sign up HERE to receive email updates each week when the next Family Fruit Challenge is ready for you! An email will be sent to your inbox every Monday, with a link to the new blog post for the week.
If you missed the first few weeks of the Family Fruit Challenge, you can find them here:
OUR GUEST BLOGGER
Katie J. Trent is a popular author, speaker, and homeschool mama of two. She’s also a Pinterest drop-out with a messy house and happy kids—most of the time. After spending years helping others improve their lives through professional counseling and ministry, Katie realized the most fulfilling (and challenging) work she would ever do actually happens within her own home. Her new book Dishing Up Devotions: 36 Faith-Building Activities for Homeschooling Families is now available for preorder. Find more resources to grow your faith, strengthen your family, and simplify your homeschool at KatieJTrent.com.
(Amazon Affiliate link included).