If you’ve been somewhere the fruit of the Spirit is being taught, you’ve probably noticed faithfulness is the one people seem to forget or gloss over. It’s perhaps a little less concrete than some of the others. It’s not something people in the world talk about very much. It’s rarely a character trait of the month at your child’s school.
So what is faithfulness? It is most often connected to trust and loyalty. The Old Faithful geyser gets its name because they know it will erupt at certain times. When it comes to Christian faith, the book of Hebrews perhaps tells us the most about it – especially in chapter eleven. You may be more familiar with this chapter as the “heroes of faith” passage.
In the chapter, the writer of Hebrews points out the characteristics of various well known people in the Bible who showed their faithfulness to God. Reading through the chapter, we can see the complexity of having faith. We also learn how important our faithfulness is to God.
Because faithfulness is important to God, we must take the time to teach our kids about it. It may mean taking the time to better understand the concept ourselves. It’s worth it though, if we and our children become more pleasing to God as our faithfulness grows.
So what are some fun ways to teach your kids about faithfulness? Here are some of our favorites.
- Break it down. Grab a huge sheet of paper or some poster board. Tell your kids they are going on a faithfulness treasure hunt. They can use any resources they want to find the attitudes and behaviors God wants to see in us when we have faithfulness. This is a great chance to help your kids learn how to search for scriptures on specific topics. Older kids may be interested in taking a first look at Bible dictionaries and concordances, too. When you think you have uncovered all of the information you can, take a look at your data. What would a person who has faithfulness “look like” today?
- He is real and amazing! Part of faithfulness is the basic belief in God and a willingness to seek Him. Take your kids out in nature or to zoos or aquariums. Even a walk in a city can reveal God’s gifts to mankind and God at work in the world today. As you walk, talk about the things that remind you of God or strengthen your belief. Talk about the love He has for us.
- Faithfulness is courageous. In Hebrews 11, there are stories of people like Noah and Abraham who had to be brave to trust God and do what He asked them to do. Your kids will have to brave to follow God at times, too. Is there something God may want your kids to do to serve someone, share their faith or obey God in the face of teasing? What can they do to be faithful in those situations? Brainstorm a “tool kit” your kids can use when they are afraid of being faithful to God. Your children’s “tool kit” may contain Bible verses, prayers, stories and more.
- The long view. One of the interesting examples in Hebrews 11 is Moses. The chapter mentions Moses giving up the benefits of being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter for hardships because he understood the greater rewards of obeying God. Faithfulness is willing to sacrifice what we want now in order to help others (and ourselves) get to Heaven. What are your kids willing to do without to help others? Is it the food in your pantry they hate to eat anyway or their very favorite? Plan a service project with your kids that requires them to make some sort of sacrifice in order to help others. Talk about our motivations as we grow in faithfulness.
- Bold faithfulness. Older kids and teens often struggle with being a Christian and a strong desire to be popular. They may hide their faith in an attempt to fit in with their peers. They may even participate in sinful behaviors just to avoid teasing. Take turns coming up with scenarios you and your kids may encounter when it would be tempting to hide your faith or minimize it. Who can come up with the best ideas of how to overcome the temptation and be bold, while still being loving and kind to those around them?
Faithfulness is one of the more difficult fruits of the Spirit to teach your kids and to help them develop. It’s important to God though, so it’s worth the extra time and effort.