Reading: Matthew 4:1-11, Romans 12:1-12
Items needed: Play-do, Toothpicks, Toilet Paper, Marker, Bowl of Water
Read Matthew 4:1-11 and list the different temptations Jesus faced. These sound attractive, and are things we wish we could have one day. Read the text again and talk about how Jesus responded to the temptations. What is consistent with Jesus' answers?
Think about yourself. What are different temptations the devil tries to get you to fall into? Some sins may be stealing, swearing, drugs, sexual sins, lying, cheating, etc. It does not matter what our stage in life is; the devil is always going to try to tempt us. No matter what it is, the devil can make all sins look attractive to us. If a TV show were to send a camera crew out to record your life, what would they see? Would you change the way you act or talk if you were on TV in front of millions of people? Do you think your life would be interesting or would it be a routine of school, sports or music practice and then homework? There is more going on in your daily life than you realize. Everyday you go through a makeover, or a transformation. This transformation first happened at your baptism when you became God's child.
- Take the Play-Do out of the can and form it into ball that resembles the world.
- On toilet paper, write the different sins that Satan tries to make look attractive in our lives.
- Put the toilet paper on the toothpicks.
- Stick the toothpicks into the Play-Do ball.
- Do you see how you formed the Play-Do world in your hands? Now see how the world looks when we conform to the sins and ways of the world. It quickly fills up, taking you away from Jesus.
- Drop the Play-Do ball in water. When we are transformed by God's word, sins look like the toilet paper and Play-Do.
- The toilet paper will become disgusting. The play-do will need to be thrown out after it has been in water, but it will not dissolve in the water.
The things written on the toilet paper are sins we have done; we take responsibility for them. What happens in the water is what Jesus does for us. In our baptism our sins were washed away. Since our baptism, we go back to the water as the Old Adam is drowned by Christ's forgiveness.
When the devil tries to succeed in tempting us, we should run a test to see if what happens is in line with God's Word. We are not losing anything by standing firm and not giving into temptation. It may appear that we can lose friends and other things in this world, but we are gaining so much from Jesus. We receive forgiveness, eternal life and so many other spiritual blessings that our Lord has promised to give us, all because He loves us.
Romans 12:2 reminds us, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal your mind." This is done through repentance and forgiveness. Everyday of your life, look at everything through the cross. Although there are no cameras around filming your life, there are major changes in your life everyday, not just in school and growing up, but as we repent of our sins and receive forgiveness. Because of Jesus' death and resurrection we have been changed with the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Each day we die and rise in our Baptism. Each day we confess our sins and receive forgiveness from God for Jesus' sake. Each day our minds are being renewed and we are being transformed to who we are in Jesus.
Published April 2012