Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control: These traits are essential to the Christian life, and we need an extra dose of them in our parenting and teaching. But how did these qualities become a Christian to-do list? Most of us spend lots of time and effort working on our self-control, endeavoring to be kind, or searching for peace. But when we try to develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we are missing the whole point. These character traits are fruits (results) of the Spirit.
Trying to instill these traits into our lives on our own is like trying to grow apples without an apple tree. It just cannot be done. The fruit of the Spirit must be grown by the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is the one who does the work in us and produces His fruit.
So instead of trying extra hard to be good, we must instead focus on our relationship with God. We must spend time with Him in prayer and seek Him through His Word. As we grow closer to Him each day, He will work in us and develop love, joy, and peace. He will help us be more patient, kind, good, and meek, and we will have more self-control.
We cannot put the cart before the horse as we teach these qualities to our children either. If we just try to teach them to be loving, kind, and good, we won’t get very far. We must also teach them how to develop their own relationship with God and how to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading in their lives. Teach your children how to pray, read the Bible with them, and always be talking about God and His truths.
The key to cultivating the fruit of the Spirit isn’t really much of a secret; we just seem to so easily overlook it. Seek God, and His Spirit will produce its fruit.
How do you help your children develop their own relationship with God?