We’ve defined sin as disobedience to what God says in His Word.
And many kids (actually all of us) struggle with the daily temptation to sin (make the wrong choice.)
We need to teach kids (and remind ourselves) that those struggles do happen … and also teach kids ways to not give in to temptation.
Again – a definition.
Temptation is wanting to do something even though we know doing it is wrong.
Here’s what we did to teach the kids the meaning of temptation.
One night, we gave each child two cookies on a napkin. Of course, the kids were excited! Cookies!
But then we told them they couldn’t eat the cookies. They couldn’t even touch them! They couldn’t take even one little nibble or give the cookie even one little nudge.
As the kids stared at the enticing cookies, we explained that this was temptation. They wanted to eat the cookies, but we had told them they couldn’t until we said they could. They truly wanted the treat!
(You can try this with different ages. A sixth-grade teacher gave each member of her class a candy bar and told them they couldn’t eat it until after the lesson.)
We didn’t make the kids wait too long – but they got the idea!
Here are some things I like to teach kids about temptation.
*** We are tempted because the old part of us (before we knew Christ) and the new part of us (the new creation we are in Christ) are fighting inside of us. The old part (the flesh) wants to do what’s wrong. The new part (the Spirit) wants to do what’s right. That’s why there’s a struggle.
*** Everyone is tempted. Even the Lord Jesus Christ was faced with temptation. He did not give in. He did not sin.
*** The Lord Jesus Christ counteracted Satan with Scripture. Remind kids that’s why it’s important to know Scripture. We should follow Christ’s example and quote Scripture to give us strength when tempted.
Thought: An older child (who thinks it through) might say that some temptation is good. True. We do sometimes use the word in a good way.
“I was shy, but my friend tempted me to try out for the play. I did and I loved it.”
“I was studying for the test for hours and my sister told me I needed a break. That sounded tempting. I took the break and she was right. I needed it.”
“The hike at camp was five miles. I hadn’t hiked that far before, but I was tempted. I’m glad I did it.”
Explain that you’re talking about the temptation to disobey God. Even though we sometimes use the word temptation in a good way, it is usually considered to be the desire to do something wrong.