Without self-control we easily end up hurting those around us, like king Saul when he tried to spear David. The Holy Spirit points us to Jesus and empowers us to control our emotions and our actions.

“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus…” – (Hebrews 12:2)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

(Gal. 5:22–23)


Fruit Intro

Hi Kids! Over the summer we’re learning about the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. What are the Fruit of the Spirit!? When we put our faith in Jesus, we receive an amazing gift from Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit leads us, we grow and start to bear fruit! It’s a way of saying that we become more like Jesus. Galatians 5:22-23 says: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

Today we’re going to speak about the last fruit of the Spirit, which is self-control! We’re going to use a pineapple to represent self-control because it’s sharp and spiky. We can also be sharp and spiky sometimes and if we’re not careful we can hurt people around us.

Out of Control Object Lesson

You will need a target (you can draw rings on the whiteboard or on a sheet of paper), and a few yellow balloons, a 6ft piece of string, a toilet roll, and scotch tape.

Put the target up ahead of the lesson. When you’re ready to do this object lesson inflate a balloon but don’t tie it off. Tell the kids that you’re going to try hit the target with the balloon. Point the balloon at the target and let it go. Without self-control the balloon cannot hit the target. It needs something to guide it. Ask the kids if there’s a way to help the balloon hit the target. Tell them that you’re going to help the balloon control itself. Tape the one end of the string to the target. Inflate the balloon again and tape the toilet paper roll to the balloon. Put the string through the toilet paper roll as in the image below. Ask the kids if they think the balloon will hit the target this time. Hold the string tight and let the balloon go!
Explain to the children that having self-control means being able to guide our thoughts and actions so that we’re not just flying around out of control. Explain that the target of our lives is Jesus. We want to be like Jesus and follow him. The Holy Spirit helps guide us and point us to Jesus!

Saul’s Shortage of Self-Control

There’s a story in the Bible about a king who didn’t have self-control. His name was King Saul. He would get very angry and throw a fit and try to hurt people around him. There was a shepherd boy named David who loved God and trusted him. Do you remember that David killed Goliath because he trusted God? David loved to worship God and make music to God. David had his eyes fixed on God but Saul didn’t trust God. The Bible says that Saul no longer had the Holy Spirit.

Tell the story from 1 Sam 16:14-17 and explain that Saul’s servants found David and that David was brought to play the lyre for Saul when he started to get very angry. You can enhance the telling of the story by having a musical instrument that you (or an assigned ‘David’) plays, or you could play soothing music on your phone. Tell the story from 1 Sam 18:10-12 and explain that Saul lost control. The difference between David and Saul is that David had his eyes fixed on God. Saul was like the balloon that just flew out of control.

Self-control by the Spirit

Saul thought that he could control himself if he had peaceful music but what he really needed was the Spirit of God! If we want to have self-control then we need to have our eyes fixed on Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps us to keep pointing to Jesus and not be like angry old Saul. The book of Hebrews in the New Testament says “Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus…” (Heb 12:2). When we think we’re going to get angry and lose self-control, we should remember that verse and ask God to help us not to be like the floppy balloon that throws a fit but to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that when we keep our eyes fixed on you it helps us stay focused. Would you please guide us by your Holy Spirit to not be out-of-control people but to be people who know how to love you and please you. Amen.

Review Questions:

  • Who was Saul?
  • What was Saul’s problem?
  • How did Saul’s servants try to help him?
  • Did it work?
  • What did Saul really need?
  • In what areas do you sometimes lose control?
  • What can you do about that?

Image Credit: Detail of Pine-apple, Lady Beatrice Lambton – Hand coloured illustration of Ananas comosus by C. T. Rosenberg. HLAA – (Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives), Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew