Fruits of the Spirit: SELF-CONTROL

This summer, we’re diving into the Fruits of the Spirit together with our teams, families, and players and this week we’re focusing on SELF-CONTROL.

In our culture, self-control gets a bad rep. We think of it as being fake or inhibiting self-expression; however, the Bible teaches that this is far from the truth. 

Self-control enables us to love better, to do better, to put aside our selfish impulses for the greater good, and to make room for more than we imagine for ourselves and the world around us. 

The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of the change that can happens within us (through the work of the Holy Spirit) because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus made a way for us to think and live beyond our natural inclinations, and to be transformed! 

Self-control is simply the ability to control ourselves. It’s the power to say “no” to bad thought patterns that, more often than not, lead to bad behaviors. 

We are so used to getting what we want, when we want it, and we are conditioned to make reactive decisions, despite how unfavorable they might be; but consider this: What if we chose to practice self-control? To think for a minute about how our next action could help (or hinder) our ability to love someone else (or even ourselves) better?

Self-control is beneficial for you, your kids, your family, and your community. Jesus says he gives us the strength to practice self-control and be in alignment with His desires for this world. We can exercise this fruit by guarding our temperaments in the dugout and the stands; by not throwing bats, gloves, or yelling at the umpires; and by eating only one dessert after the game instead of two. We can also come prepared for the heat instead of being frustrated by it; and we can choose display our team spirit respectfully, whether we win or lose.

MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

TRY IT AT HOME

View the Self-Control Fruit of the Spirit handout for ways to practice with your family, kiddos, or players.


Fruits of the Spirit: GENTLENESS

This summer, we’re diving into the Fruits of the Spirit together with our teams, families, and players and this week we’re focusing on GENTLENESS.

Playoffs are here, and we want to finish strong! So what do we tell our kiddos? Put your game face on. Don’t be weak. Push harder!

These are all clichéd statements that help motivate us and discourage us from showing weakness. Our urge to use them stems from the fact that many of us have been conditioned to think that if an ounce of us is meek, then it shows we are not ready.

The Bible says that a fruit of the spirit is gentleness. That no matter where we are or what we are up against, we can have a lightness in us, a softness in our actions. Meekness does not mean weakness! It is far more difficult to be gentle in competitive situations or when we feel wronged than under any other circumstances. We show real strength when we can stand up for ourselves and fight for what is right in a gentle way.

Impossible?Jesus did it first. He endured death on a cross, despite being without sin, for you and me. He spoke up for the underserved and under resourced, while still loving the 1%. We cannot be gentle in hard times without Jesus. Our culture won’t let us.

Press into Jesus this week, and accept the challenge to be gentle with your words (and in your conduct) on the field and around game sites. It is hot, bad calls are made, and everything can be upsetting, but how can you speak up and be gentle at the same time? Challenge your kids in the same way.

MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK

“Gracious [gentle] words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24 

TRY IT AT HOME

View the Gentleness Fruit of the Spirit handout for ways to practice with your family, kiddos, or players.


Fruits of the Spirit: FAITHFULNESS

This summer, we’re diving into the Fruits of the Spirit together with our teams, families, and players and this week we’re focusing on FAITHFULNESS.

Faithfulness or fidelity describes the character of someone who can be relied upon. The Bible teaches us that a person who is faithful in a small things will also be faithful in big things (Luke 16:10).  

How is this fulfilled in the games of baseball and softball? Being present and on time to practices and games and frequently participating in team activities is a great start. You can faithfully serve your team by providing snacks, bringing waters, volunteering to be a Team Mom/Dad, or offering to carpool. You’d be surprised how fulfilling this can be for you, but more importantly, for the comradery of the team.

Being faithful offers a sense of responsibility and belonging, and it goes a long way for building trust and confidence within your team family.  What other ways can you think of to be a faithful member of your squad?

How can you practice being faithful this week?

MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” – Luke 16:10

TRY IT AT HOME

View the Faithfulness Fruit of the Spirit handout for ways to practice with your family, kiddos, or players.


Fruits of the Spirit: GOODNESS

This summer, we’re diving into the Fruits of the Spirit together with our teams, families, and players and this week we’re focusing on GOODNESS.

What is goodness? The Bible defines goodness as having an honest heart and life. It is also the ability to want (and to do) good for others.

God created everything on Earth to reflect His goodness. You and I were created to show and express the goodness of God. Because of Jesus, we have been given everything we need to know to be able to do good. When we do good, we share with others a taste of heaven.

As teammates both on and off the field, being good to each other should be one of our main focuses. A good way to start is simply this: treat people the way you would like to be treated.

Why? Because Jesus demonstrated how to love and serve well; and we all desire that treatment. If we put forth the effort to be kind and welcoming to our teammates and their families, even on the roughest days, we express the fruit of goodness. The Bible even says that God’s goodness follows us all the days of our lives (Psalm 23:6), so why not pay it forward? God is still working goodness for you and the rest of your team. You can be the person God uses this week to remind a teammate that there is still goodness in their lives.

What ways can you express God’s goodness this week?

MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16 

TRY IT AT HOME

View the Goodness Fruit of the Spirit handout for ways to practice with your family, kiddos, or players.


Fruits of the Spirit: KINDNESS

This summer, we’re diving into the Fruits of the Spirit together with our teams, families, and players and this week we’re focusing on KINDNESS.

Earlier in the season, we talked about showing love to our neighbors and how that can be hard when our neighbor is not someone we like very much. The Bible shows us that because of what Jesus Christ did for us, we as Christians can love others first, forgive others first, and show kindness to others first — even when it is not done to us in return! 

This can be hard to do, but we have the very best example in Jesus. Being kind first is easy to say, but difficult to do! However, if we stop and think about how kind Jesus was to us, even when we were unkind to Him (Romans 5:8), we will want to show that type of kindness to others. 

The baseball diamond is a great place to practice showing kindness. Did your opponent fall over sliding into second? Give her a hand and help her up! Did another parent forget to bring a water bottle for practice for their child? Offer to share from your bottle. In this way, you’re demonstrating the Gospel to those around you.

Have you experienced someone showing kindness to you? How did that make you feel? How did you respond? What are some ways you can show kindness this week?

MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

TRY IT AT HOME

View the Kindness Fruit of the Spirit handout for ways to practice with your family, kiddos, or players.


Fruits of the Spirit: PATIENCE

This summer, we’re diving into the Fruits of the Spirit together with our teams, families, and players and this week we’re focusing on PATIENCE.

There are plenty of things about being at a game that force us to be patient. For a weeknight game, we wait all day for the game and then wait in traffic to get there. For a Saturday game, teams wait for the previous game to be finished, and fans wait in lines at the concession stand.

Sometimes in life, in the process of waiting for and working toward what we strive for, we strikeout, we make errors, and we get frustrated and impatient when we don’t succeed according to our standards and timetables. 

Praise our Father in Heaven for knowing at just the right time to send His Son to step up to the plate, so to speak, and to take our place on the cross. What a waiting game that must have been for His disciples after Jesus died! In the greatest late inning rally of all time, Jesus came back to life, and He wipes the slate clean to save us from our imperfections — like those times we aren’t very patient with others before, during, and after games. 

How might you encourage your child to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” on and off the field?

MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.” – Romans 15:5

TRY IT AT HOME

View the Patience Fruit of the Spirit handout for ways to practice with your family, kiddos, or players.


Fruits of the Spirit: PEACE

This summer, we’re diving into the Fruits of the Spirit together with our teams, families, and players and this week we’re focusing on PEACE.

The summertime can often be more stressful than the rhythms and routines of the school year. The Texas summers are hot, there are many activities to coordinate, and the ever-increasing Austin traffic may cause some tension as you take your child from one place to another as they are out of school. 

We also know being a baseball or softball parent can be stressful with tense moments during games where your child has the opportunity to come through in the clutch on the field or experiences growing pains in learning how to be part of a team with teammates. 

Regardless of how a game goes in this life, no matter who wins or loses, remember that the Good News is that Jesus died and rose to win the game that we cannot win ourselves. Thank goodness that our Savior defeated the giants of sin, death, and the power of the devil. May the peace of Christ fill our hearts as we wait to reign forever with Him as undefeated Champions on His team.

Is there anything that you is causing you to be anxious that you can pray to the Lord for peace about? Is there anyone you could extend peace to this week?

How can you practice peace this week?

MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK

“I [Jesus] have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

TRY IT AT HOME

View the Peace Fruit of the Spirit handout for ways to practice with your family, kiddos, or players.


Fruits of the Spirit: JOY

This summer, we’re diving into the Fruits of the Spirit together with our teams, families, and players and this week we’re focusing on JOY.

How has this summer been going so far?! Have problems come up? Have you felt defeated? Happy? Excited? Busy? Tired?

We constantly pursue happiness and we seek to avoid feeling pain or failure. We are so scared of experiencing anything but “good vibes.” But often times, life is hard and good vibes are hard to muster up.  

The Bible tells us that joy is something that can be given by God (Romans 15:13). Joy given by God is not situational, but it is inexpressible and filling (1 Peter 1:8). Joy sustains you even when everything feels wrong. Through this joy, you can experience happiness on even your worst day. You can love and serve even when you feel left behind.

Our kids are young, but they still experience the ups and downs of life. Help them see that they can still be joyful when practice didn’t go well or when they don’t have the best game of their lives. They can still express joy through gratefulness and being a good team player. Jesus can give them this joy. Good vibes come from joy, and not from everything going right. 

How can you practice being joyful this week?

MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.” Romans 15:13 

TRY IT AT HOME

View the Joy Fruit of the Spirit handout for ways to practice with your family, kiddos, or players.


Fruits of the Spirit: LOVE

This summer, we’re diving into the Fruits of the Spirit together with our teams, families, and players and this week we’re focusing on LOVE.

You might have heard the Bible verse where Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. This can be easy to do when our neighbors are our friends, but it’s so much harder to do when they are people who aren’t “cool,” people who are mean to you, or even our opponents on the field.

Jesus was the perfect example of someone who loved those who were hard to love — tax collectors (Luke 19), adulterers (John 7), and even those who killed him (Luke 23).

There are so many ways that we can show God’s love through our interactions with teammates, opponents, coaches, and umpires. We can tell our teammates “Good job!” when they get a hit or make an out.  We can listen to our coaches as they teach us to get better at fielding.  We can congratulate our opponents on a well-played game. We can thank our umpires for donating their time.

How will you show God’s love to those around you this week?

MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39

TRY IT AT HOME

View the Love Fruit of the Spirit handout for ways to practice with your family, kiddos, or players.


Fruits of the Spirit

This summer, we’re diving into the Fruits of the Spirit together with our teams, families, and players.

The Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are Christian virtues that reflect God’s character to others. The Bible teaches that if we walk in the Spirit, we can practice these fruits. Walking in the Spirit means that we can think of ourselves as players on Jesus’ team. 

Jesus willingly shares His life with us and leads us by example. He teaches us how to live out each fruit. Walking in the fruits of the Spirit means we are consciously serving others, as Jesus Christ served us. Jesus is the strength needed to serve deeply and practice each fruit.

Each week, we will be sharing about a fruit of the Spirit found in the Bible. We invite you to incorporate some of this content into your team’s rhythms this summer, and we’d love for you to walk with us as we learn about God’s love for us in this way.

If you want to talk more about this week’s fruit, reach out to your team’s chaplain or Jessica Escalante at jessica.escalante@rbiaustin.org