Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.
What if you only talked to your parents once a week or even less than that? How would you tell them what you need or want? How would they tell you what you need to do? How would you say that you love each other if you didn’t talk very often? It would be crazy to only talk to your parents that often, right? But some of us do that with God.
The way that we know about God and who He is, and also what He wants us to do, is by reading what He has to say in the Bible and by praying. We talk to Him and tell Him our needs and wants when we pray, but if we don’t take the time to do it, we can be a big mess. I know that when I don’t pray I get a bad attitude. How about you?
It’s important that we talk with God everyday, just like it’s important to talk with your parents. It might seem like prayer is hard, but it’s really not as hard as we sometimes make it seem. Practice praying by just telling God what you liked about your day, thanking Him for those things. Tell Him what you didn’t like about your day and ask Him to help you with those things. It can be as simple as that. There aren’t any magic words or special ways to talk. Just talk to God. If you still don’t know what to say, ask God to help you pray. He says that He will.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. (Romans 8:26, NLT)
Now, do this. After you’re done reading this, ask your parents to pray with you. Let them pray some, but you should also take a turn. Will you try praying every day this week?
Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Someone once asked Jesus what God’s most important rule was (Mark 12:28). He answered that it was to love God more than anything else. That’s a pretty big thing to ask!
Think about some things that you love. You love your family. You may have a pet that you love. Maybe there are some toys that you just really love playing with. Or there could even be things that you love to do, like sports or games. God is saying to love Him more than you love anything else. Do you think that might be hard? Think about your parents. They’re supposed to love God even more than they love you!
There was another person in the Bible that asked Jesus what He had to do to get into heaven (Matthew 19:16). Jesus answered Him that he had to give up all of the things that he loved more than he loved Jesus. The man thought that was too hard so he didn’t give up anything and he went away from Jesus very sad. What that man needed to realize was that Jesus is better than anything that he loved in his life.
We should love Jesus so much that we want what He wants. We should want to be like Him and want to do what He did. When we make Him most important in our lives, we’re starting to really live for God.
Will you pray about this with your parents? Ask God to make your heart love Him more than anything else. If you ask Him for help doing that, He’ll definitely help you because it’s what He wants most!
When I was a kid like you, I used to wonder what it was that God wanted from me. I learned about God on Sundays and heard different stories about men and women in the Bible who followed after Him, but I wasn’t quite sure what He wanted from me. I wasn’t supposed to build an ark or kill a giant with a slingshot and some stones, but there was something God wanted me to do; right?
Let me just tell you that a lot of adults still wonder about what God wants from them. There are still times I ask Him to show me again because I’ve gotten too busy or distracted to remember. I’ve learned 7 key things that God wants from everyone and I’m going to teach you those, but I’ll take time to do each one at a time. Here I’ll just take a minute to tell you what they are, then I’ll go into more about each one at a later time.
The 7 key things we all need to do in order to live for God are:
- Love Jesus more than anything else. (Mark 12:30)
- Talk to God every day. (Proverbs 8:34)
- Read the Bible and do what it says. (Psalm 1:1-3)
- Love other people. (Mark 12:31)
- Give to God. (James 1:17)
- Serve other people (Mark 10:45)
- Share the Good News about Jesus (2 Timothy 2:2)
Take some time to talk about these with your parents and next time we’ll get more into loving Jesus more than anything else.
Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
When we follow Jesus, there are some things that God wants to see in our lives. It’s not just about what we do, but about how we are. We call this our character. Your character is who you are as a person and the way you act and treat other people is because of your character. Character can be good or it can be bad.
When you show someone love, that’s an action, when you are loving, that’s part of your character. It’s possible to do the action without having the character. Someone who isn’t a loving person can show love to someone. But God is more concerned with us being loving than He is with us occasionally doing something for someone else. Actually, He wants both.
If you’re a loving person, but never do anything to show it; what good is that? It’s possible to be loving and to show love through your actions. If you’re thinking that sounds hard, it is. But the good news is that you don’t have to do it on your own. If there’s ever anything that God has said He wants you to do or to be, you can trust that He is ready to help you.
If you don’t think you’re the kind of loving person God wants you to be, ask for His help. Pray and ask Him to help you have a heart that loves. Ask Him to help you to show love to the people you see everyday.
What are some ways you can think of to show people that you love them?
How do you think a person who has a loving heart thinks differently than someone who doesn’t?
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
What do you think the most important thing is to God? What does He most want us to obey? Did you say love? Of all the things in the Bible God told us to do, He tells us that loving Him and loving other people is the most important (Matthew 22:36-40). Jesus even said the rest of the commands God gave us would all be taken care of if we’d just love God and other people.
The Apostle Paul wrote about love because it’s so important. The people in the church of Corinth (a city that he visited) were getting a lot of things wrong so Paul taught them about the importance of love. He told them that even all the good stuff they were doing was worth nothing if they didn’t also show love to people. Can you imagine? You go to church, read your Bible (and maybe even memorize verses), volunteer to help with things, and you’re told that it’s no good because you’re not loving? That had to get their attention!
This happens a lot thought. Poeple do a lot of things for God and think they’re making Him happy, but they forget to do the most important part of what He said to do – love. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can make loving God and loving people an important thing in your life right now. What things can you think of to do today that will show God’s love to someone around you?
Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Following Jesus makes us different from the people in the world who don’t. The way we act is different. The way we talk and even the way we treat others is also different. When we begin to follow Jesus, He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. That means Jesus is living inside of us and He helps us to live the lives that God wants for us.
There are certain things that God expects from His people. Not just rules He wants us to follow, but specific characteristics He wants us to have. Because we get help from the Holy Spirit to show those tings, we call them the Fruit of the Spirit. Like fruit grows from a tree and certain trees produce certain fruit (You woulnd’t see a banana on an apple tree!), Christians produce certain “fruit.”
None of these things are just for the benefit of ourselves. They all have an effect on other people and the big idea is that other people will know God more because of us. We should want to live in a way that shows people the Fruit of the Spirit so that they will love God and follow HIm.
The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We’ll talk about each of them and how they help other people to know God. Only one person was ever perfect at showing all of them at the same time – Jesus. We’ll be looking at His example and just how He showed the Fruit of the Spirit.