Lesson in a light bulb


Compare a broken light bulb with a working light bulb.

Discussion point: The Holy Spirit helps us “shine” brightly for Jesus, obeying His commands.

For this activity, you’ll need two light bulbs and a light socket (a trouble light or a table lamp with the shade removed). Begin by showing your children an ordinary (unlit) light bulb. As you do, ask the questions provided.

Questions for discussion
  • Can you tell me what this is this?
  • What is a light bulb supposed to do?
  • Who wants to see if this one will do what it’s supposed to?

Screw the bulb into the socket. When the bulb lights up, you can all cheer.

Read Matthew 5:14-16.

  • How are people like light bulbs?
  • Do we always shine like we should?
  • Are there times when our lights are turned off?

Unscrew the light bulb and put it in a zip-seal plastic bag. Place the bag on a firm surface, and without fanfare or explanation, crush it with something heavy. If you have stiff-soled shoes on, you can even step on it. Leave a short pause for effect and hold up the bag of bulb pieces. Take a minute to ask more questions.

  • Can this light shine anymore?
  • Is it still useful?
  • Can we put it back together and make it work again?

Next, bring out a new light bulb. Hold it up so your kids can see that it is completely whole.

  • Can this light bulb shine just by trying really, really hard?
  • Is the light bulb shining yet?
  • How can we make it shine?

Your children will likely tell you to plug it in or to turn it on, so do so.

  • What is the power source that makes the light shine?
  • What is the power source that makes us shine?
Key concepts

Broken light bulb: When we sin, our light doesn’t shine like it’s supposed to. Without Jesus, we are all like broken light bulbs. When we sin, we break ourselves, we damage our connection with God, we hurt each other, and we hurt God. We have all sinned and we are all like the broken bulb – we can’t shine like God made us to shine anymore. We can’t do anything to fix our broken-ness either. Only God can.

New (not plugged in) light bulb: The wonderful news is that God makes broken people whole again. When we ask God to forgive our sins and tell Him that we want to obey Him and have Him be the leader of our lives, He takes all the broken pieces of our lives and makes us new again – just like the new light bulb.

Plugged-in light bulb: Even a brand new light bulb does not shine if it is not connected to the power source. Just like a light bulb that is not plugged in to a socket, we can’t shine on our own, no matter how hard we try! The good news is that when we have the Holy Spirit in us, we can shine brightly for Jesus because His Holy Spirit is the power source.

Jesus gives us His Holy Spirit to live in us so we can do the things He asks us to do – obey our parents, be kind to each other, share with others, tell the truth, and be patient. The Bible says that the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead lives in us! (Romans 8:11) God’s Holy Spirit brought Jesus back to life and that same Spirit lives in us to help us shine like Jesus. When the Holy Spirit lives in us, we become full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

If you wish, continue by reading John 20:1-22, the account of the disciples discovering that God had raised Jesus from the dead.

Relevant Scripture

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Romans 8: 11 “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.”

1 John 3:24 “Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.”