Essentials for Daily Living: Five a Day
Fruit of the Spirit
by Brian Radcliffe (revised, originally published in 2009)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To outline the personal characteristics we can choose to demonstrate in our daily relationships.
Preparation and materials
- You will need to have available a variety of fruit and vegetables for display in the ‘Assembly’, Step 1.
- You will also need a reader to read the Bible verses, Galatians 5.22–23a.
- How do you get your five a day?
Refer to the fruit and vegetables in your display.
Do you like some sliced banana on your cereal at breakfast, or an apple in your hand as you rush out to school? Is your mid-morning snack full of sultanas and raisins? At lunch, do you crunch your way through a bowl of salad and then at dinner, enjoy heaps of steaming vegetables on your plate?
It’s possible that for some of us, if we’re honest, our average daily intake of fruit and vegetables comes in at closer to two or three portions a day, rather than the recommended five.
- Health experts and nutritionists advise us that it’s important for us to eat a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. Why?
It’s because they contain vitamins and minerals that are essential to growth and health, but are not present in the same way in carbohydrates, sugars and fat-rich foods. If we want to become fit, alert, strong and active members of society, we need these vitamins and minerals in our diet.
The other thing that fruit and vegetables provide is fibre, which can prevent us from developing certain diseases such as bowel cancer later on in life.
- Here’s another fruit-based piece of advice. It’s from a letter written by St Paul that appears in the Bible.
Ask the reader to read the Bible verses: ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ (Galatians 5.22–23a)
- Now that’s something to absorb, isn’t it? In every sense of the word! It would be amazing if every morning on our cornflakes, we could sprinkle a spoonful of peace and add a dash of patience. What a difference that would make to the person we would be during the day!
We could vary our diet according to the outlook for the next few hours. If we expected a boring lesson, or if we were afraid we were about to receive bad news, we could snack on a bit of joy.
If we had to do a tedious job, we could have a good dollop of faithfulness to help us do the task properly.
Self-control would be just right to help us if everything seemed to be going wrong.
Love would be worth a taste in all circumstances.
Just like our five a day, if we were to absorb all of these alternative fruits, life would be considerably better for those around us, too.
- The Bible passage talks about these being the fruit of the Spirit. You can’t get them from your local supermarket. They are God-given. God’s Spirit is God’s life in us. Christians believe that God acts with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If God’s life is in us, we, too, can choose to act in a similar way.
- Let’s go back to our original five-a-day fruit and vegetables. When we eat the correct amount of them, we can be sure that they’re doing our bodies good.
Similarly, we can’t deny that if we were to live with the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, our relationships would be much healthier. There would be more smiles, less anger; more activity, less hurt; more tolerance, less frustration.
The choice lies with us. We could binge on burgers, fries, doughnuts, sweets and ice cream all the time, or we could choose what we know is better for us. Similarly, we can muddle through life with our moods, self-centredness and irritability, or we can invite God to live his life in us day by day.
Time for reflection
What do you face in the next few hours?
What resources do you need to absorb to get through unscathed?
What resources might actually make this a productive day for you?
In our prayer, we’ll go through the fruit of the Spirit one by one. Decide whether you could do with a quick snack on any of them.
Thank you that you offer your life to be lived in me.
I make my choice here from the resources you offer.
(Read the following list slowly, with pauses between items.)
I choose . . .
Love . . .
Joy . . .
Peace . . .
Patience . . .
Kindness . . .
Generosity . . .
Faithfulness . . .
Gentleness . . .
Self-control . . .
May we live like this today.
‘Don’t worry, be happy’ by Bobby McFerrin, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-diB65scQU (4.03 minutes long)