Matthew 22:37 to 40 tells us to love God and love others. It is important to teach this principle to children. Learning to obey this one verse will help kids avoid many of the pitfalls that come as they go through their teen years. It can make them a better person, give them the confidence to do what is right and help make the world a better place.
Make a visual aid of the verse. Use verses 37 and 39. Put it on a whiteboard, chalkboard or PowerPoint. Choose the Bible translation of the verse that best fits your church. Create a take-home slip with the verse on it to hand out at the end of class.
Read the passage to the class. "37. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. 38. This is the first and greatest commandment. 39. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40. All the law and prophets depend on these two commandments."
Read verses 37 and 39 together a few times. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself."
Have a discussion with the group. Ask the children if they have any ideas how to love God, and call on a few kids to answer. Ask them, "Do you have a best friend? What kinds of things do you do together? Do you spend a lot of time talking with a good friend? If you love God, you'll spend time talking to him. How do you talk to God?" Discuss how prayer is talking to God, getting to know him like a good friend.
"If you love God, you will obey what He teaches. How do you know what God teaches?" Let the kids give some answers, then talk about the Bible being God's instruction book for life. "If you love God, you will read your Bible and obey what Jesus teaches."
The final way to love God is by loving others; discuss it. "What does it mean to 'love your neighbor as yourself'? How do you like to be treated?" Talk about how our actions and how we treat others say a lot about our relationship with God. The Bible says in 1 John 4:20, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." If you are a Christian, you must act like it by loving others.
Memorize a personalized summary of the verse: "I will love God, love others." Say it together in a chant. Start out the chant at normal voice level, then get real loud, real quiet, then loud again.
- ['Bible', 'Whiteboard', 'Chalkboard']
Do a craft, activity or game about loving God or others.
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