And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. – Luke 11:4
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 4:15
Props: whole potato and bag of potato chips; children’s toothpaste (bubble gum flavor)
Summary: We will face many temptations in life. God allows us the freedom to choose how we respond. We can overcome temptation with God’s help.
Today I want to talk with you about temptation. Do you remember the story of Eve being tempted by the serpent in the garden of Eden? What does the word temptation mean? (Listen to responses.) Let me show you one of my temptations.
Consider this potato. (Show whole potato.) God made the potato and it is a healthy food to eat. You can bake it and eat it, skin and all. The skin is full of vitamins that are good for you. If you peel away the vitamin-rich skin, slice it into thin pieces, fry it in oil, and sprinkle salt on it, you will get potato chips. (Show bag of chips.) Eating lots of potato chips will make you fat and clog your arteries. That is not healthy. When given the choice between potato chips and a baked potato, the baked potato is the healthier choice. Because potato chips taste so good they are very tempting to eat.
We know it is better to avoid things that will harm us. Sin will harm us but sometimes it is not easy to see sin for what it is. Like the forbidden fruit that Eve was tempted to eat, sin may look “pleasant to the eyes” and may satisfy our desires, but it is not good for us. The Bible says that when we are tempted God will give us a way to escape. We can choose not to give in to the temptation. (Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 below.)
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Look at this tube of toothpaste. (Show tube.) Most toothpastes taste yucky. We may put off brushing our teeth even though we know it is the right thing to do. If Mom gives us this bubble gum flavored toothpaste, we will like the taste and be more likely to brush. She gives us a way to escape that yucky tasting stuff and do the right thing (brush our teeth). In the same way, if we ask God to help us, he will help us escape temptation and do the right thing.
Jesus is our example of how to overcome temptation. (Read Hebrews 4:15.) Jesus was tempted as we are but he never sinned. During our lifetime on earth it is as if we are on an island surrounded by temptation. When we are faced with temptation we must make our choice. God gives us the freedom to choose how we will respond. We can give in to temptation and sin, or we can ask God to help us overcome the temptation. May God help us to make the right choice!
©2001 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.