A Fruity Guatemalan Spiritual Lesson

By Brendan Scott.  Of all the classes I taught, Bible wasn’t the one I looked forward to teaching every day.  I enjoyed my gym classes and my screen writing classes, but this Bible class I had to teach last year was a struggle.  Mostly because of the kids.  Yes, I said it.  I had a class of kids I didn’t enjoy.  Okay, these kids were fine individually, but put them together and they would start to pick on one another.

I knew, as their Bible teacher, it was my job to teach them the correct way to treat their classmates.  But no matter what I told them, the girls still singled out the one girl they decided was different from them and treated her as if she was trash.  And the boys, well, they just cheated most of the time and complained if they weren’t given the best marks on all of their work.

Telling them how Moses brought the people of Israel out of Egypt in hopes of helping them become a kinder class was just not working.  Sunday school lessons on David killing Goliath didn’t mean anything to them.  By middle school at the Inter-American School, a private Christian School, they’d heard it all.  Unfortunately the way they were treating their classmates wasn’t matching up with the Bible verses they’d heard all of their life, and it was bringing me down.

Kids won’t change if the teacher, who is in charge of their spiritual growth, has a bias against them.  Their bad attitudes were causing me to neglect them.  For a while, longer than I care to admit, I decided just to teach the class, but not try to help them grow in their relationships with Jesus.  Neglecting them was working fine until I came across the book of Colossians.

Colossians 4: 12 states, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

I knew as a Christian leader I had to show my students compassion.  I started praying for them each night.  The prayers were simple, but they helped.  The girls were still mean to one another and the boys still cheated, but I started to love them.  And I believe that’s what it takes when we live spiritually.

As my love grew, I decided to challenge the class as a whole, including me, to start living by the fruit of the spirit.  I stopped worrying if they knew who was king David’s great-grandfather (Boaz) and started focusing on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I offered them extra credit to memorize Galatians 5:16-25, the passage in the Bible where the Apostle Paul get’s spiritually fruity.  They complained about having to know such a long passage, but as I was memorizing the passage the fruit started to show in my life.  And my hope was my students could see the change in me, and start to see what it meant to live by the fruits of the spirit.

This is a lesson we can apply to our own lives.  If we want to live spiritually, we need to live by the fruits of the Spirit.  I am not sure if my students learned anything (middle schoolers are a stubborn breed and not all blogs have clear-cut endings), but I know by being joyful for them when they did well, being kind to them when they were mean to me, or by showing self-control when they acted out, my heart changed.  And if they can see me change, then maybe, just maybe, they’ll change too.

I haven’t talked to many of those kids since I returned to Colorado, but I still pray for them.  I challenge anyone to live by the fruits of the spirit and pray for the people in their lives, even if they are annoying.  The change will be sweet, I guarantee it.

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2 responses to “A Fruity Guatemalan Spiritual Lesson

  1. Georgie-ann

    So true. How would we (as “natural/carnal man” — the way we’re born), ever be able to learn or understand anything about God and His spiritual alternatives and benefits for our solo grasping and desperate lives, if we didn’t have the Word of God to show us everything about it? And without a spiritually led preacher, would we be able to make “heads or tails” of what these things mean as they would apply to us personally? With the revealing help of the Holy Spirit, some may indeed find God, (the rescue stories of the Gideon Bibles do abound!), but “a picture — (a living example, plus a praying heart connected to the more-than-enough God of the Universe) — is definitely worth more than a thousand words!”

    What comes naturally to us will “seem right” if we’ve never had anything to compare it with. Automatic pilot is the default human setting, inevitably leading to many conflicts of self-interest. The evil in the “other guy” is definitely wrong (in my own eyes), but my evil in retaliation “is justified” (in my own eyes, but not in his, of course). A recipe for continuing darkness and ultimate futility, but a recipe that underlies many an average human situation and TV show or film. We can get very used to swimming in these polluted waters, especially if we’ve never encountered the refreshing and pure living waters of Christ.

    It takes an expansive and powerful miracle to break through habitual human darkness in a growing and effective way. God’s Love and the illuminating Light of His Word — whether they “trickle in” gradually and faithfully, or astonish with Holy Spirit boldness and manifestation — are the only effective solution to “natural man’s” inevitable dilemma and the darkness which he perpetuates.

    Romans 10:1-17

    1 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
    5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

    14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

    “ How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
    Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

    16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

    The natural and unenlightened mind appears to be a powerful and effective machine for consuming and “spitting out” endless variations of speculative ideas, theories, and even self-justifications,…constantly creating an atmosphere of “much ado about nothing,” and essentially “going nowhere” over and over again.

    Mark 10:27 “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.’”

    The Spirit of John the Baptist also comes to mind.

    John 1:23 “He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying aloud in the wilderness [the voice of one shouting in the desert], Prepare the way of the Lord [level, straighten out, the path of the Lord], as the prophet Isaiah said.'”

    All men need Christ, God’s Word, preachers, and our prayers of Faith, Hope and Love for them. May the Holy Spirit of God bless you and your faithful heartfelt prayers!

    Great photos, btw!

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