Scripture: Galatians 5:16-25
16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.
Main Point: The fruit of the spirit are an out ward sign of an inward change. All people who consider themselves Christians, should be regularly growing in those fruits. The fruit of the Spirit should be a “defining characteristic” of a believer’s life.
Learning Game: Ha! Ha! Moustache.
This is a “guess the ‘stache” party game that is available from online retailers like amazon.com for less than $10. It has been our experience that youth, especially younger youth, do not connect well with this game. However it is a great game for adults, especially adults that do not play a lot of games.
In this game one player will draw a moustache card in front of their face. On the back of the card there are clues that help the other players figure out who the proper owner of the luxurious facial hair is. The clue giver should pause in between clues, because each clue read reduces the number of points. So after the first clue the card is worth five points, but once the fifth clue is given it is only worth a point. The other players will be calling out their guesses. Whoever gets the right answer is awarded the appropriate number of points
The person who got the points becomes the next clue giver. This continues until someone gets fifteen points or a time limit is reached and the player with the most points wins.
Post Game Discussion
After playing the game use the following questions to debrief from the game and set up the biblical discussion.
1. For all of these people their facial hair is one of their distinguishing characteristics. Who are some other people you can think of that have something about them that makes them instantly recognizable?
2. What do you think is one of your distinguishing characteristics?
3. Which do you think better defines who we are, how we look or how we act?
Facilitator Instructions: The point of these questions are to acknowledge that there are things about us that are defining characteristics. To strangers it is likely these defining characteristics are superficial, like a moustache. However, to the people we interact with regularly most of us probably hope we are known by our actions and heart.
This scripture is all about the actions and attitudes that can be defining for us. Read Galatians 5:16-25 and use the following questions to prompt discussion:
1. There are two different list here the acts of the flesh, and the fruit of the Spirt. How are the list different?
Facilitator Instructions: There are two points that should come out on how the list differ. First, one is self-centered and the other is centered on others. Second, the acts of the flesh are temporary and empty while the fruit of the spirit make a lasting positive impact.
2. Which list do you think is more prevalent in our culture? Why do you think that is?
Facilitator Instructions: The first one is, though it is probably best to limit examples. This is especially true if the students are an older group. The intention of the lesson is not to rant about how bad things are today. Again the point can be made that the acts of the flesh have immediate rewards but are ultimately empty. However, the immediacy is why there is so much more prevalence.
3. Where do the fruit of the Spirit come from?
Facilitator Instructions: This is the key point the lesson tries to make. The fruit of the spirit is an outward manifestation of a changed heart. Thus, it is only possible to experience true joy, to have total self-control, or to be ultimately patient with the help of the Holy Spirit. These fruit go beyond personality traits, but they are behaviors that influence our actions that exist in our live because we are seeking to be more Christ-like.
4a. Do you feel like any of the fruit of the spirit are characteristics that describe you?
4b. Do you find any of the fruit listed to be hard for you to do?
Facilitator Instructions: These are questions that challenge the students to introspectively reflect on the scripture. With an older group it might be fruitful to let others in the group share how they feel the fruit of the spirit are characteristics that describe others in the group.
5. Based only on how present the fruit of the Spirit is in your life, do you think people would know you are a Christian?
Facilitator Instructions: This connects back to the game. Just like the mustaches were a distinguishing characteristic for various characters and people, the fruit of the Spirit should be evident and a distinguishing feature in our lives.
6. How would your life be different if the fruit of the Spirit truly defined your life?
Facilitator Instructions: Being a Christian should change us. If we are not living any different than we would if we were not a Christian, then we are doing something wrong. As we spend more time with God and seek to do what God wants us to do, then the fruit of the Spirit will be present in our lives.