“And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:17
We want to teach our kids to have virtue. Teaching kids virtue is demonstrating integrity by choosing to do what is right. That can be very hard in this life. We often want to do what is right but fail in so many ways. I know I do. I think it is sometimes hard because we rely on our own strength. It remains so much easier to maintain integrity when we are rooted in God. Today, we looked at the passage where Jesus talks about the good fruits we can have if we remain in him. I started with my kids by reading John 15:1-8.
“‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit while every branch that does not bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up , thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
After reading this passage, we looked at a drawing I made (I got the vine drawing from Inside Storey). I made this image into a printable so you can use it as a tool for teaching and coloring with your own kids or classes.
We looked at this picture and talked about the following elements. As we discussed the elements, I had them coloring those particular parts of the drawing.
Seeds: These are planted when someone hears the word of God. We want to tell people about Jesus so that they can have hope and eternal life through a relationship with him and the forgiveness of sins. We want to plant these seeds. Jesus also gave a parable about the seeds in Matthew 13. Seeds need to be planted in good dirt. If we are going to bear fruit, we needed to be planted in good dirt too. That means a teachable heart ready for God’s word to work in our lives. It also means surrounding ourselves with good influences and being careful about what we listen to, watch, read and the friends we choose.
Roots: We need to make sure our roots stay grounded in God. That will be through prayer (talking to God) and studying his word. We must firmly establish our roots in the truth so that we can grow strong and stable. It will help us resist pressures from the outside that might tempt us away from virtue.
The Vine: In the parable, Jesus says that he is the vine. We must remain in him so that we are able to stand firm until the end. There will be some work on our part, but we are resting in his strength and ability to change us. He is there offering the free gift of help and forgiveness. All of this is impossible on our own.
The Gardener: In the parable, the gardener is God. He is there to prune off branches that are not bearing fruit. This can be painful and hard. It often takes a lot of trimming. However, have you seen the bloom on a plant that has been pruned back far. Although this seems painful at the time, the Master Gardener knows what he is doing and is truly trimming us back so that we can experience gorgeous fruit.
Branches: We are the branches growing out from the vine. We are God’s hands and feet on this earth. We should serve him by serving others. We are called to love with a sacrificial love so that others can see God in us. These branches, however, are only useful if they remain in the vine.
Fruit: When we remain in the vine, we (the branches) begin to grow good, healthy fruit. This comes in not only a virtuous life that is a model of honesty and integrity, but it is also shown in the love and care we have for others. We are called to care for those in need. Our fruits, all the good things we do, don’t get us into heaven, but they are a demonstration that we are rooted in our faith in Jesus. The bless others and are a reflection of the love God has for them. We also talked about how the fruit is best represented by the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians.
Sun: We are to be people who live in the light. Just like a grapevine would wither and die without sunlight, we start to wither as we try and hide in the darkness. What does darkness represent? It represents lies, secrets, the shade of old habits and shame. When we live a life in the light we are being virtuous, but we are also reflecting God’s light that shines bright so the whole world can see. “We live in the light,” is a phrase I like to emphasize in our family.
Fence: Grapes grow along a fence. It helps the vine grow in the right direction. The grapevines grows up along the poles and then stretch out across the wires. The branches wraps themselves tightly around these wires for strength and guidance. Without the fence, the vine would fall to the ground and not reach the light. Moms, dads, teachers and authorities are like a fence in our lives. They give us rules and guidelines we need to obey. They want to keep you standing strong so you can be healthy and thrive, bearing good fruit.
Water: Jesus is the living water. He talks about this in John 4. Again, fruit does not grow without living water. If we are not seeking Jesus as our living water, we won’t be bearing any good fruit.
After doing the coloring page, we moved on to our grape craft. This grape craft can also be used as a homemade trivet for hot items. It’s pretty easy and fun to make out of cardboard.
I took a large cardboard box and cut off the lid part. I cut that into one inch strips.
These strips can then be rolled up and hot glued at the end to keep them tight.
Once the strips are all rolled up, you can hot glue them onto another piece of cardboard. Once dry, you’ll want to cut around the outer edge of the outline of the grapes.
Now you are ready to paint the grapes. I had all three of my kids working to paint the same grape. If you have a group of students trying to make on together, you could put everyone in charge of rolling and painting their cardboard pieces individually. You could then hot glue them when they are all dry.
We added some decorative cardboard leaves at the top that we also painted green.
This craft can serve as a reminder of how we bear good fruit that demonstrates our virtue as we remain in the true vine and rely on the true gardener.