Preteens are up against a lot these days, aren’t they?

For so long, they’ve probably just done what their parents trained them to do. But now… they’re starting to get their own ideas and opinions.

They now might have a lot more freedom and responsibility.

They are starting to come up against choices and circumstances that challenge them to really live out their faith through their actions, not just with their words!

Use this free lesson, based on James 2:26, 1 John 2:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, to teach preteens what it means to live by faith through their actions.

– Ministry to Youth Team

Looking for preteen ministry curriculum? Check out our…

Exclusive Preteen Curriculum: Year 1 & 2 now available. Get one year of new preteen ministry curriculum designed to help 4th-6th graders explore their faith and wholeheartedly follow Jesus.

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Written by Joshua Thompson

Bible: James 2:26, 1 John 2:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Bottom line: It’s not enough to say that we have faith … we have to show we have faith through our actions!



  • At least 10 pairs of items (examples: two cups, two staplers, etc.)
  • Blindfolds
  • Two Chairs (set up back-to-back in the front)
  • Timer


This game is a foot race of a different sort. First, split your group up into two teams. Then have one person from each group sit in the chairs.

Once seated, blindfold the two contestants and explain to them that they have one minute to identify the item before them using only their feet. You’ll need to let them take their shoes off, so let them know ahead of time. Some preteens aren’t going to be willing to do that but are still willing to cheer their teammates on!

The first contestant to correctly identify the item wins and earns their team one point.

After these two contestants are done, pick two more students, one from each team, to participate. Keep doing this until the first team to the predetermined point total you set wins.


Excellent job, everyone, playing a difficult but fun game!

It can be hard to do things differently, but I’m glad to see you all rise to the challenge!

So, I know we just finished playing a game, but I actually would like to play one more to get us into our lesson.

Let’s play a short game of “would you rather.”

[For each of these “would you rather” questions, give preteens a chance to answer before moving on to the next question.]

Okay, would you rather sleep on the floor for the rest of your life or in a bed?

Would you rather walk or ride to school every day for the rest of your life?

Or would you rather hand write all of your messages to your friends or use a phone instead?

If you’re being honest, then you’ll know that the second of the two options in each question was the better option.

As we live before the Lord, there is a choice that we must make between two options: will we live our lives to please people … or to please God?

The better answer by far is to live to please God.

We do this best by living by faith.

Does anyone know what I mean by living by faith?

[Give time for preteens to answer.]

Living by faith means that we live our lives out of our belief that God is good and that He knows best.

And here’s a kicker – it’s one thing to say that we will live by faith and a completely other thing to actually do it.

In fact, this is what Scripture says about living out one’s faith:

“Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” – James 2:26

And then there is this verse that tells us how to live if we claim to follow Christ:

“Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” – 1 John 2:6

Properly understanding these verses means realizing that truly living before the Lord means that we show our faith through our feet and not just with our mouths.

Here’s what I mean by that.

When the Bible talks about how someone walks, it’s typically just another way of saying how they live.

But how can you tell if you are living with your faith in your feet?

One of the ways you can tell if you live with faith in your feet is by the choices you make.

How many of you have had to make tough decisions?

I’m not talking about the decisions about what clothes to wear to school or what snack to eat.

I am talking about decisions that could have serious consequences.

For example, choosing to do the right thing or choosing to sin even though you know it’s wrong.

There are three things that play into the weighty decisions like the ones I just mentioned: feelings, facts, and faith.

Would you make important decisions on feelings alone?

No, because they may or may not be right.

Would you make decisions on facts only?

In some cases, yes, but facts do not always account for everything.

Acting on your faith to make these tough decisions is your best option.

Here’s why: when we act on faith, we act in ways that line up with God’s truth and glorify Jesus, which are always the right things to do.

Another way to tell if you are living with your faith in your feet is by your reactions to things that happen to you.

As you all have probably come to realize, there are some things that are just beyond your control.

Perhaps one of the most basic things that is out of our control is how people treat us.

Though we may try to influence people to like us, treat us with respect, or just accept us … sometimes they just won’t.

 Let me ask you this: what’s one of the most disrespectful things someone could do to another person?

[Give preteens a chance to answer. Be sure to use any answers that stand out to you.]

Now, a typical person would respond in anger and want to retaliate, but those who live by faith respond in a way that is … different.

Instead of hurting those who hurt you, those who live by faith bless those who hurt them.

They seek how they can do good even to those who hurt them.

Now, why is this the correct response?

Well, the answer is found in Scripture:

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Those who live in Christ by faith are expected to respond this way because of what Jesus did.

Even though we are sinful and often choose sin on purpose, this is how Jesus responds to us: with love and kindness.

And even though He knew what we would be like, He blessed us by dying for us.

If we say we live by faith in Christ, then we must respond like it.

Making choices and having responses to the things that happen to us are two moments that occur daily for all people.

Because they happen so often, these moments are tests to see if we are willing to live by faith or just say we do.

I’d like to encourage each of you to be people who not only claim to have faith with your mouth but also show it with your feet.

Let’s live like Jesus lived!

Now let’s pray and go to small groups!


  1. We learned that it is one thing to say that we live by faith but another to actually do it. Have you ever struggled with matching your actions with your words?
  2. Have you ever had to make a tough choice before? What was that experience like for you?
  3. When making tough decisions, why is making decisions based on faith the best option for us?
  4. Can you remember a time when you’ve been mistreated by someone? How did you respond?
  5. In 1 Thessalonians 5:15, we’re encouraged to seek the good of those who mistreat us. On a scale of one to five, with one being the worst and five being the best, how would you rate yourself on how well you usually follow that verse with your actions?  
  6. Why should we respond by our faith with good instead of evil?
  7. What does a person who lives out their faith look like, act like, and so on? How would you describe them?
  8. If you were to be rated on a scale of one to 10 of how well you are living out your faith, what number would you give yourself and why? What number do you want to be at?

End lesson.

Looking for preteen ministry curriculum? Check out our…

Exclusive Preteen Curriculum: Year 1 & 2 now available. Get one year of new preteen ministry curriculum designed to help 4th-6th graders explore their faith and wholeheartedly follow Jesus.

Exclusive Preteen Curriculum

Like this free lesson? You may also like this free preteen lesson on friendships.

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