The most delicious part of the holiday season may be the baked goodies that pop up everywhere: Christmas cookies, pumpkin pies, and chocolate cakes fill our holiday gatherings. It’s January, and we’re past all that…but is anyone getting hungry all over again for these treats?
- What’s the treat that tempts you most during the Christmas season? (Accept all reasonable answers.)
Eating sweets is a fun part of enjoying the holidays! There’s no shame if you gave into temptation and ate some goodies. Cookies speak to us in a way that broccoli doesn’t.
We’re going to watch a video telling us about an experiment with little kids facing temptations, called the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment.
Show your students the following video [1:15].
Stanford Marshmallow Experiment
- Is there anything morally wrong with tasting a treat when it’s left right in front of you? (Of course not. At least so far as we can tell from the video, eating or not eating the cake wasn’t a matter of disobedience. The children would get a reward if they stayed away from the chocolate; if they chose to eat the cake, they were just giving up the reward. There was no sin involved.)
The kids faced temptation to eat their treats before waiting for the second treats. They aren’t disobeying if they give in—they were given the choice. They will get a reward if they don’t eat their treats, but it’s okay if they choose to eat it and give up the reward. However, sometimes temptations can lead us to sin.
- Did the kids who gave into the temptation to eat their treats before waiting for the second treats commit a sin? (No, but allow students to share their perspectives.)
Life is full of temptations—from eating treats to lying. Some temptations can be harmless—like an occasional piece of chocolate cake! But other temptations can lead us to violate God’s will.
As Christians, God wants us to resist the temptations that lead us to sin. It’s not easy, but it can be done, as Jesus demonstrated in the Gospels. Let’s look at the most famous time that Satan tried to persuade Jesus to disobey God.