What makes plants grow? What helps them grow? What keeps them from growing?
When a person becomes a Christian something truly wonderful happens – Jesus comes to live inside of that person. He does this by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we say that a person has the Holy Spirit what we mean is that they have the very life of Jesus and his character inside of them. The Apostle Paul calls this “the fruit of the Spirit.” Listen to how he says it here in Galatians 5:
Galatians 5:22-23. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Let’s think about the difference between building with Legos and growing a tomato for a minute. If we were building with Legos together and I asked you to make your tower of Legos grow taller, what would you do? You would add more and more Legos to the tower. But if we were growing tomatoes together and I asked you to make your tomato bigger, what would you do?
You can’t build a tomato can you? You can’t add to it, or make it grow faster or bigger. You have to wait and wait and wait for it to grow naturally from the inside out.
No, you can’t make a tomato grow, but you can help it grow. And you can do things to keep it from growing. How can you help your tomato to grow? (water it, give it sunshine) How might you hurt your tomato and keep it from growing? (not water it, no sunshine).
Jesus inside of us is like tomatoes not Legos. We can’t make the fruit of the Spirit grow inside of us, but we can help it to grow or we can prevent it from growing sometimes too. The fruit of the Spirit is love – God’s love for us. For God’s love to grow inside of us we need only to trust his love FOR us. The love he showed us through Jesus and his death on the cross for us.
And we can help the fruit of God’s love grow inside us by doing things that help us trust in his love more and more. Things like reading the Bible stories about Jesus and his love. Or talking to God about his love. Or singing songs about Jesus’ love and his cross. And of course we can practice showing God’s love to others. And as we do these things from faith in Jesus we will become more and more like Jesus. It will be very slow and often difficult, but the fruit of Jesus will grow inside of us – that’s a promise from God that you can trust every single day.
Because of Jesus we have the fruit of the Spirit – God’s love – in us.
With Jesus we can help the fruit of the Spirit grow by trusting him more and more.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
If you have a garden or houseplants take some time to talk through how you can’t make them grow but you can help them grow. Do some of the things that help a plant to grow (water it, place it in the sun, give it plant food, etc.) Talk about what you can do as a family to help the love of Jesus grow in your house.
Because you live inside of me I can be like you. Help me to trust you more and more and let your love inside of me grow and grow.
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