This self-control Sunday School lesson includes a Jesus-centered devotional you can use in a lesson, as well as a full “fruit of the Spirit: self control” lesson plan with an object lesson, coloring page and other activities.
Fruit of the Spirit SELF CONTROL for Kids!
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.
During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,Matthew 4:1–4 NLT
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
How many types of weapon can you think of? Swords, guns, knives, throwing stars, scimitars…that’s as much as I know about weapons.
In your list, did you name the Bible?
Ephesians 6:17 talks about how we can protect ourselves against evil using the Armor of God. It says “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (NLT)
It’s kind of weird to think of the Bible as a weapon, isn’t it? I mean, it’s hard to protect yourself from an enemy with a book. Maybe if it was heavy enough you could knock someone out with it, but normally a book isn’t a great weapon to bring to a battle. However, the Word of God isn’t any old book!
The devil came to tempt Jesus Christ when he was the weakest. We are often tempted when we are weak too. Maybe you don’t understand the math problems you’re supposed to hand in, so you look up the answers. Or maybe a kid at the park is being mean to you, so you push him off the equipment. Or you’re super-duper hungry so you sneak the junk food your mom told you not to have before supper. Maybe you even sneak some screen time because you’re so tired. The difficult situations when we are weak are those when we’re more likely to have a lack of self-control. Our sinful nature is harder to control when we’re tired, hungry, or frustrated!
Well, guess what? The last fruit of the Spirit is here to help you grow in self-control. You can use the Word of God like a sword against the temptation. You can say a verse like this one: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13 NLT) or this one: “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied” (Mathew 5:6 NLT).
This won’t always be easy. Unlike us, Jesus was able to use his Sword of the Spirit to fight back against the sneaky temptations every single time. Because of that, he was the perfect sacrifice to take the consequences of sin from us. He was also the greatest example of self-control. And when Jesus came back to life, he brought the Holy Spirit with him to pass onto you.
Self-control means that you’re able to say “NO” when you’re tempted. Imagine the Holy Spirit like a mechanical arm that helps you swing your own Sword of the Spirit against temptations. Nothing can stand against you when you pair the Sword of the Spirit with the Holy Spirit. This is the very reason why self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit – it’s not something we can force. It’s something that grows as you learn to depend on the grace of God!
When you feel stuck, like you have no other choice but to sin, say “help me, Jesus!” That’s the kind of prayer Jesus loves to answer with a great big “YES”.
A Self-Control Sunday School lesson plan for children:
Use this free self-control Sunday School lesson (from the Bible) for church or at home!
1. The Fruit of the Spirit SELF CONTROL Lesson:
First, let’s look up self-control in God’s word! Help children look up and read Matthew 4:1-4, then share the above fruit of the Spirit (self-control) devotion, stopping to discuss with the kids as appropriate. You may also want to talk about the benefits of self-control, especially with older children.
After, ASK: What kind of temptations do you think Jesus had to say “no” to? / Tell me a Bible verse you have memorized.
*Remind kids that self-control grows when we get closer to Jesus and allow his power to work within us, not just by trying harder to be self-controlled. The good news of Jesus is that we don’t have to just try harder. He actually gives us his own Spirit to help us making good self-control choices in daily life. When we’re having a hard time with self-control, that’s not our cue to try harder, but to bring it to God.
Thank you, Jesus for showing us what it’s like to have self-control, but also for giving us the Holy Spirit so we can actually swing our own Sword of the Spirit. Amen.
3. FRUIT OF THE SPIRITSELF-CONTROL ACTIVITIES:
- Have fun with the memory verse! Hide under a table and whisper 2 Timothy 1:7, then stand on a chair and shout it!
- Have kids make a poster of 1 Timothy 1:7 in fancy letters.
- Have kids draw the tastiest dessert they can imagine, then discuss whether it would be hard to have self-control with that dessert.
- Teach kids a breath prayer: As you breathe in, say “You have not given me a spirit of fear” and as you breathe out, say “but of power, of love, and of self-control.”
- Play the smile game! The point of the game is to try to get someone in your group to smile. Choose one person to be the guinea pig and the rest will do everything possible to make that person smile. Time how long it takes each person to crack a smile.
- Have kids try out the object lesson on their own.
- *As you share these activities, be sure to keep the conversation on the fruit of the Spirit SELF CONTROL gospel-based (meaning we emphasize Jesus’ self-control and remind kids that the power of the Spirit is available to Christians).
Fruit of the Spirit Self-Control Object Lesson
Enjoy this object lesson which shows the importance of self-control in our lives:.
SUPPLIES: 2 glasses of red-dyed water, 1/4 cup baking soda, vinegar, and a large dish or plastic bowl.
SAY: The red water represents us, and the baking soda represents the fear and selfishness living in our hearts. (Stir some baking soda into the water). The vinegar shows what happens when something makes us angry. (Add a splash of vinegar) All the junk inside us bubbles out, hurting others.
ASK: What would happen if God cleared all that sin and selfishness out of our hearts? (Pour vinegar into a plain cup of water, no baking soda). When Jesus cleans us up on the inside, we won’t spill over and hurt others around us anymore. We will still get angry, but it’s much easier to have self-control when our hearts have been cleaned by Jesus.
A fruit of the Spirit: SELF-CONTROL coloring page
Download and print this entire package of fruit of the Spirit coloring pages and activities, including this SELF CONTROL coloring page featuring 2 Timothy 1:7. This coloring page is available in 4 translations.