Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 5 PART 4 – Patience (2 Peter 3:9)
LESSON: PATIENCE – The Lord God has been patient with mankind.
Memory Verse: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9
(For younger kids: “The Lord is…patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”)
Bible Story: Luke 13:6-9 “The Parable of the Fig Tree”
A man had a fig tree in his garden and came again too see if it had any fruit but he couldn’t find any. One day, he said to his gardener, “Look, for three years now I have been waiting for this fig tree to bear fruit, and it doesn’t even have a single fig! Cut it down! Why should we let it continue taking up space and using up the soil?”
The gardener replied, “Give it one more chance, Sir! Just one more year! I will take special care of it and give it fertilizer. If we get figs next year, then that would be good! If not, you can cut it down.”
Right before Jesus told this parable, some people had been telling Him about some bad people who had been severely punished. Jesus told them this parable to explain to them how God’s love and mercy works. He used the example of a fig tree to explain that God tests our hearts by our “fruits.”
Questions for discussion:
- Why do you think the owner wants to cut down the fig tree? (because it has no fruit.)
- How many years has the owner waited for the fig tree to bear fruit? (3 years)
- Who stopped the owner from cutting the tree? (the gardener)
- What was the gardener’s plan? (to take extra care of the fig tree)
- What happens if the tree still doesn’t bear fruit after a year? (it will be cut down)
What does the story mean?
- The man represents God the Father who checks on each tree he planted in the garden.
- The fig tree represents the people of God. The fruits are the result of a heart turned to God; the fruits of righteousness or the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in a Christian’s life.
- Jesus is the gardener who intercedes (prays) on behalf of the people so that God will give them one more chance.
- This parable is about second chances. The Lord could have chosen to punish all the people who continue to rebel againstim because He has already given the people much time for them to repent and turn to God, but because of His great love and mercy, He has given us another chance to bear fruit.
- As 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, God has been very patient with mankind, and He has extended His grace to us and blessed us with the gift of Jesus Christ who died for our sins so that we may not perish (be cut down). God wants people to REPENT and allow Jesus to nourish their hearts with His Word. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will eventually show the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our lives.