The most delicious part of the Christmas season may be the baked goodies that pop up everywhere. Christmas cookies, pumpkin pies, chocolate cakes. It’s January and we’re past all that…but is anyone getting hungry all over again for December 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. However, sometimes temptations can lead us to sin.
We’re going to watch four little kids face two temptations. The first temptation is to eat a piece of chocolate cake. They aren’t disobeying if they give in—they were given the choice. They will get a reward if they don’t eat the cake, but it’s okay if they choose to eat it and give up the reward.
However, the kids will also be faced with a second temptation: will they answer honestly about whether they ate cake? Or will they lie? Let’s watch.
Show your students the following video [2:43].
Brain Games – Lying and Cognitive Development in Children
- Is there anything morally wrong with tasting a chocolate cake 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.)
- When did the kids commit a sin? (Obviously, it was when three out of four kids lied about whether they’d eaten some of the chocolate.)
- Why do you think the kids lied? (They probably wanted to receive the promised reward even after they didn’t fulfill the conditions.)
Life is full of temptations—from eating chocolate 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. Like lying about what you ate, for example.
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.
Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. For upper elementary, middle school, and high school your Step 4 appears below. For adult, use the Step 4 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.
- Ruled paper
- Optional: whiteboard and markers
Sadly, there are some temptations that can lead us into disobeying God. Today’s video showed us that even little kids fall into traps like lying.
- What are some common temptations that lead middle schoolers to sin? (Encourage students to think beyond obvious misdeeds, like drugs or sex, to everyday temptations like making fun of peers or disrespecting parents. List the temptations on your whiteboard if you have one.)
- Would someone be willing to share a short story about a time when you resisted one of these temptations instead of giving in? What kept you from disobeying God’s will? (Hopefully, some of your students can suggest pointers for avoiding sin as they narrate their stories. If they struggle for temptation resistance strategies, tell a story of your own and mention a few ideas that worked for you. List the strategies on your whiteboard.)
We’ve brainstormed a bunch of different temptations this morning. Whether they seem big or small to us, they can all result in sin. And sin is a big deal in your relationship with God.
The good news is that temptation doesn’t have to end in sin. There’s nothing wrong with temptation by itself—it even happened to Jesus! The key is to resist instead of giving in. When you do, you’re following in the footsteps of Christ.
Hand each student a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil. Let’s finish our lesson by drafting a letter to ourselves. Think of something that really tempts you to sin personally and then give yourself your best advice for avoiding that specific temptation. Writing out a letter—even if you don’t send it—can help you focus your thoughts.
Let’s say you choose the temptation of making fun of people at school. You might write, “When you think about mocking someone, consider how you would feel if a kid said cruel things to you.”
Your letter doesn’t have to be long—two or three sentences is fine. Just write an idea or two that could genuinely help you fight back against sin! We’ve brainstormed strategies on the whiteboard if you need help.
Give your students a few minutes to think and write. If time permits, invite (but don’t require) student volunteers to read their letters aloud.
It’s easy to give into temptation. But Jesus showed us that with the power of the Holy Spirit, it’s possible to resist! Keep this letter in your room as a reminder to fight back against sin all week long. Ask for God’s strength to resist temptation every day.
Close in prayer.
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(For our upper elementary, middle school, and high school customers: David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before shoeing links in the classroom.)