1st Sunday in Lent - Temptation

Matthew chapter 4 1-11


Lead us not into temptation


That's exactly what happened to Jesus, He was newly baptised by John and his ministry hadn't even started.  Off Jesus went into the desert to spend time with God for reflection on the road ahead.  Jesus must have known the road was going to be a bumpy one, it definitely wasn't going to be easy.  I think Jesus must have known that being the Son of God was going to upset a few people. 

Child with tempting sweets
Image: Akalwa Ke
Perhaps sending Jesus into the desert knowing that Satan would be there and would try to tempt Him was God's way of preparing Jesusfor the difficult times ahead.  We can only speculate. 

However Jesus went into the desert, and indeed Satan was there. So the game began.Satan tried to tempt Jesus with food, power, and status but of course it dn't idwork.  Jesus threw God's word back at Him.

Whilst Lent might be a difficult concept with children, temptation certainly isn't. Children are tempted constantly.  The world is full of temptation, television ads for example; why do they exist – to tempt us into buying the latest most fantastic gadget, or the best offer from the cheapest supermarket.

Teaching children about temptation is easy in a lot of ways, it's having the self control to avoid the temptation that is difficult.  We all have weaknesses -things we are more prone to being tempted with than other. For some it might be a sweet tooth or for others being distracted by their phones.  It's about knowing what our weaknesses are.  


What are my weaknesses?


identifying weaknesses is a good place to start with children.  

With older children allow them to bring their phones into the room but forbid them from using them.

For younger children tempting food can be laid out on a table but they are not allowed take any.  

See how long it takes some of them before the temptation begins. 

Leave the room but without the children's knowledge have a spy in your midst to see what happens.


Activity


A great way of illustrating the story of Jesus' temptation in the desert or even our temptation is by creating a game.  There are lots of templates on the web or make up one yourself.  Perhaps start with making a game of Jesus' temptation then move on and make a game about the things we are tempted by encouraging the children to think about what they are most tempted by.

A game with a road and a number of different paths to be tempted onto keeps the theme of travelling through lent as well.

  • An extra activity could be feet, footsteps. 
  • Each child draws around their own foot, (on coloured paper or they could colour in their foot). 
  • Label it with their name.  
  • Then they can then be displayed around the words we are travelling through lent – Lead me not into temptation. 
  • Around the feet the children can add all the things that tempt them.
My prayer for all of us is that God gives us the will power to overcome temptation and delivers us from evil. Amen.
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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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