Main Point: The sweet taste of fruit is obvious and easy to identify. The sweetness of the fruit of the Spirit in a Christian’s life should be just as obvious.
Discussion Starter: Fruit Taste-Testing
This discussion starter will require a little bit of set up before you can lead it in front of your group.
First, swing by your local grocery store and pick up 5 to 10 different kinds of fruit. For example, you might purchase grapes, apples, oranges, strawberry, pineapple, peach, watermelon, banana, and mango. Then, prepare your fruit by cutting it or peeling it (or whatever may be required to expose the actual meat of the fruit). You’ll also want to get a few blindfolds – one for every student you want to invite to participate.
When it comes time to gather your group and start your discussion, bring everyone’s attention to the front of the room where your table of pre-prepped fruit is resting. Tell your group you’re going to do a blind taste-testing and ask for volunteers. You’ll want to assure them there are no tricks involved; no one will be secretly served SPAM, etc. In fact, you can even say, “Everything that is on the table that you will be given to eat is actually sweet. They’re all fruit…and I want to see if you can identify them by taste alone.”
When you have chosen your volunteers – one or two should work fine – bring them up front, blindfold them, and then give them one fruit at a time and ask them to name it after eating it. (OPTIONAL: Broadcast the fruit being tested on the video screen or poster board so the crowd can know what’s being served.) Chances are good that your students will be able to easily identify the fruit they’ve been given to taste. After you’ve let your taste testers identify your fruit, you’re ready to make your point.
Transitional Statement: I didn’t tell you earlier, but the truth is, I had a hunch all along that you guys would be able to identify the different fruits by their distinct tastes. There’s just something fairly obvious about the sweetness and the texture of a grape or pineapple. When you take a bite from an apple and experience that crunch and taste, there’s really nothing like it. Yep, the sweet taste of most fruit is pretty simple to identify. Likewise, the “fruit of the Spirit” in a Christian’s life should be just as obvious. Let’s talk about what that means and why it’s important.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite fruit.
- ASK A FEW: How well do you think you would have done if you’d have been the blind taste-tester? Why?
- ASK A FEW: What kind of clues would you have been looking for, or what other senses would you have used, to try and identify the fruit while blindfolded?
- ASK A FEW: What are some other foods that have very distinct tastes, textures, smells, etc?
- ASK A FEW: In a moment, I’m going to read you a passage about the traits and qualities of Christians. What are some of the traits that Christians should have?
- ASK A FEW: What are some traits or qualities that Christians SHOULDN’T have?
Read the following passage:
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
- ASK A FEW: In this passage, the apostle Paul talks about “the fruit of the Spirit.” What does he mean by this? (Leaders – A healthy apple tree produces apples as a fruit. A healthy banana tree produces the fruit of bananas, and so on. Essentially, Paul was telling us what our lives as Christians should produce. If we are healthy Christians, meaning we are truly following Jesus, we should bear – or produce – the kinds of fruit that Paul lists here.)
- ASK A FEW: In this passage, Paul lists 9 different fruits of the Spirit. Which is the most important in your opinion, and why? (Leaders – If necessary, be prepared to explain the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of believers.)
- ASK A FEW: Which of these 9 fruits are the most difficult to produce? Why is that?
- ASK A FEW: Earlier, we talked about how obvious it was to identify a particular fruit based on its taste, texture, etc. If a Christian is producing the fruit of love, what are some of the “obvious” traits you’d expect to see in his/her life? (Leaders – Repeat this same question for all of the fruit of the Spirit.)
- ASK A FEW: What’s it like to eat healthy, tasty fruit? What’s it like to hang around a person who bears the fruit of the Spirit?
- ASK A FEW: Paul says there is no law against any of the fruit of the Spirit. What does he mean by that?
- ASK A FEW: What does this passage have to say about a person who claims to be a Christian…but who doesn’t have any of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned here?
- ASK A FEW: What are some ways we can produce more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: Let me lovingly hold your feet to the fire. What’s one thing you’ll do this week to produce more fruit of the Spirit in your life?
Wrap Up: When it comes to taste, nothing is as refreshing as some sweet, juicy fruit. Grapes and apples and watermelon all have a distinct and pleasant taste. When you bite into a healthy piece of fruit, it’s obvious! Everybody likes that!
Likewise, when a Christian is producing the fruit of the Spirit, there is little that can compare. A Christian who’s bearing love and joy and gentleness (and the other fruit) are the kinds of people we want to be around. Those are the kinds of people we need in our lives. When we hang around those kinds of Christians, it shows in our lives!
That’s the kind of Christian we want to be: a Christian who’s bearing all kinds of fruit for God. We want our lives loaded down with fruit just like an apple tree’s branches are loaded down with apples. When we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit, it means that we’re following Jesus as closely as possible.
You know what else is obvious? The exact opposite! Let me read to you the same passage we talked about in our breakout groups, but I want to start a couple verses earlier. Check it out.
Read Galatians 5:19-25
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Here’s what Paul is saying: when a person is living in sin, it’s obvious. That’s actually the word he uses! But when a Christian is producing the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, it’s just as obvious!
We need to be the kind of Christian that bears the fruit of the Spirit. If we do, we’ll please God. If we do, our lives will be changed. If we do, the lives of those around us will be blessed. No, it’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.
In a moment, I’m going to pray. But if you’d like to talk about this more, please take a moment and get with me or one of our adult leaders so we can talk about your life and how we can help. We love you and want to help you bear a ton of fruit for God.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
David R. Smith is the author of several books including Christianity... It's Like This and speaks to parents and leaders across the U.S. David is a 15-year youth ministry veteran, now a senior pastor, who specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, DavidRSmith.org David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.