Spiritual Growth Agendas, Topical Curriculum

Stuck Under Temptation

Main Point: We can overcome temptation by knowing what mistakes to avoid when facing it.

Discussion Starter: Kids and Marshmallows
This is a funny little experiment performed on kids using a marshmallow and a hidden camera. Basically, the setup is this: kids are escorted into a room by an adult and given one marshmallow. They are told that if they wait to eat the marshmallow, when the adult returns, IF the marshmallow hasn’t been eaten, they will get to eat that one PLUS another!

Introducing the Clip:
We all know the reality of temptation, right? But do we ever really think about the process of temptation? Like, what goes on in our heads when we’re under temptation? What could we do that might alleviate some of the temptation we face? Most important, how could we live our lives to avoid temptation? Well, here’s a funny little clip that shows us what NOT to do when we’re caught under temptation. Check it out.

The Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3yv_LZi5hI
This video clip is hosted on YouTube and is available to show for free from their site.

Transitional Statement:
If we learn one thing from this silly little clip, it’s to NOT DWELL on the temptation that’s facing us. Every single one of these little kids sat there and stared at that marshmallow for minutes on end. They picked it up and touched it. They smelled it. They played with it. They even nibbled little pieces off of it! In real life, when our temptation is more real with a far greater consequence, we need to do a better job of resisting temptation than these kids did. Let’s talk about how we can do that, now.

Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.

CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and which kid from the video we thought was the funniest.

  2. ASK A FEW: Were you surprised by how the kids handled the temptation of not eating the marshmallows?

  3. ASK A FEW: Do you think the kids handled the temptation very well? Why or why not?

  4. ASK A FEW: How do you choose to handle temptation?

  5. ASK A FEW: In case you didn’t know it, Jesus was tempted. Are you surprised to hear that? Why or why not?

  6. Read the following passage:

      Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)
      1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
      4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
      5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
      “‘He will command his angels concerning you,
      and they will lift you up in their hands,
      so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
      7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
      8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
      10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
      11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

  7. ASK SOMEONE: What were the things Jesus was tempted with in this passage?

  8. ASK SOMEONE: How did Jesus handle the temptations from the Devil?

  9. ASK A FEW: What were some of the differences between the way Jesus handled the temptation and the way those kids handled their temptation. (Leaders – Here is the key: the kids dwelled on the temptation, they flirted with it over and over. Jesus, on the other hand, just nailed it down by quoting God’s Word. That’s what we should do.)

  10. Read the following passage:

      James 1:13-15 (NIV)
      When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

  11. ASK SOMEONE: What does this passage say about the nature of temptation?

  12. ASK A FEW: There’s a 4 stage process of temptation: We think it. We want it. We do it. We pay for it. At which of these stages would it be easiest to resist temptation?

  13. ASK A FEW: What do you think are some of the biggest temptations students face today?

  14. ASK A FEW: Are there certain situations where temptations are more readily available or where temptations are stronger? If so, name them.

  15. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Let’s get real and go around the circle and name one temptation you face. (Leaders – Emphasize, “What’s said here stays here.”)

  16. AROUND THE CIRCLE: What would help you at these times? (Let students talk, affirm their ideas, and encourage specific standards and future accountability.)

Wrap Up:
Alright, we might have started off light today with a funny little clip about kids facing temptation, but as older students, when we face temptation, it’s no laughing matter, is it? For us, we’re not fighting a battle for a second marshmallow; we’re fighting for our character, our sexual purity, our glorification of God, and so on. Temptation is serious!

But we learned about a few crucial tools in dealing with temptation. First, let’s do what Jesus did and just squash it from the get go. Unlike those kids, Jesus didn’t ponder the Devil’s offer. Jesus didn’t dwell on the possibilities the Devil presented Him. Jesus didn’t flirt with the idea of giving in. He just resisted the Devil by quoting God’s Word.

Second, let’s understand the process of sin from the passage in James. Again, it just reinforces that the sooner we squash temptation, the better off we’ll be. The longer we contemplate the temptation, the more likely we are to give in to it.

All of us in here are under temptation. All of us have failed in the past. All of us will fail in the future.

But some of us in here are under some life-changing temptation. If that’s you, I want to encourage you to stick around after we pray in a moment. I’d like to confidentially meet with you to discuss what you’re going through and how it is we can help you. So, if that’s you, please grab me or one of our adult leaders. You’ll be glad you did.

You don’t have to face your temptation alone. Let’s pray.

Close in Prayer


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.


  1. Nkechi
    October 29, 2016 at 12:00 am

    What an awesome lesson for youths on handling temptation. Great resource. I intend to use it for my teenagers' church in my local assembly. God bless everyone behind and involved in this project.

  2. fred
    April 19, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Great word for today , especially the tools to fight with…

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