I am so excited to be teaching this series on how to help your kids grasp and desire the fruits of the spirit. The Lord put this on my heart several years ago, and since then, I’ve watched my children begin to not only use the language of the fruits in our home, but also recognize each gift as they see it being displayed in themselves and others.
Today we’re going to tackle one of the most desirable and perhaps the greatest of all. Love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
The moment I birthed my children, something incredible happened. I was suddenly consumed with a love like I had never experienced before. It wasn’t anything I had to force, nothing I had to learn in a class, and unlike anything my mind could have possibly come up with on its own. It was something innate; a God-given ability to love deeply. I’m sure you can relate to that feeling as well.
It’s amazing how much love we are capable of. The love that we have for our children is sacrificial and unconditional. At the drop of a hat we would literally lay down our lives for them. But then on the flip side, we are also capable of so much hate and ill-will towards others. Our friend who hurt us deeply gets her dream job, and deep down inside we cringe at the sight of every Instagram post, secretly hoping it doesn’t work out for her. That family member we haven’t spoken to in years shows up at a reunion, and we give them the cold-shoulder, while building up our wall of pride and slashing their reputation with our gossip.
No matter how loving we think we are, we all have work to do in this area. Though we are capable of loving like Jesus does, in order to get there, we must first admit our shortcomings and realize that we are incapable of doing it without him.
When it comes to love, the single greatest thing we can teach our children is that our love is 100% dependent on our ability to receive God’s love. The more love we allow him to pour into us, the more we are able to pour into others. Teaching them to seek Jesus and understand his unconditional love for them is crucial.
The second thing we need to teach our children about love is what it looks like. There is a particular scripture that our family thinks is perfect for this, and you might already know this one.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
My girls and I have unpacked this verse together, and let me give you a piece of advice from what we learned. Don’t rush through it. Depending on the age of your kids, there might be many words they don’t understand in this verse. I suggest taking one quality a day to focus on. Go deep into that one quality rather than trying to tackle it all in one sitting. And then make it a family goal to memorize the entire scripture, so that you can have it on hand when the need arises.
Here’s an example of how you could use that verse in daily application. Say that your children are fighting over a toy and one of them hits the other. It’s then that I would intervene, calm them down, and say something like, “Ok let’s see where we went wrong here and how this escalated to show disrespect and anger towards your sibling. What’s our verse for love?”
When you bring the Word into the argument, you’re allowing the child to see what’s going on in his/her heart and not just forcing them to apologize and move on.
Now listen, I know that having to put everything down and get in the middle of the mess to help them sort it out may not always be possible, and is also way more exhausting than just yelling from across the room to stop fighting. But trust me friend, the results are well worth the effort. Take it from a recovering “yell-across-the-roomer”. When I take the time to pour the Word into those little hearts, it begins to take root, and soon I’m hearing them pull out those verses on each other before I even have to intervene!
Want some help making this lesson a priority?
I’ve got you covered. Download this printable and hang it on your fridge or somewhere handy, and begin to spend 5 minutes a day unpacking each quality of love with your kids. And then at dinner, have everyone recite the verse together. Make it fun. Do the Whip and Nae Nae while you recite it in rap form, or Baby Shark. Whatever. Do your thang, girl.
With the download, you’ll also get all the Bible verse prints for this series as well as family dinner discussion cards!
Teach those babies to love well, mamas, and you’ll spend a lifetime getting to watch it grow.
Jump into lesson 2 on Joy, here!