One of the most important lessons I am teaching my boys in their spiritual lives is about temptation. Temptation is everywhere and seems to be more and more prevalent in our world. Mark Chapter 4 tells us that even Jesus was tempted, so we have to expect that there will be temptation in our lives. I want my sons to be equipped to handle any temptation they may face. It always seemed to be a difficult subject to teach and to get them to understand. I had prayed about how to get the message across to my boys and do it in a way they can understand. Finally, it came to me and I tested it out on them and they really seemed to get it!
I will share my “brownie” example that worked well with my children. Let’s say mom has baked a batch of brownies for a meeting. They are your favorite and they smell delicious! She has explained to you that they are for a meeting and you are not to eat them. In my example, the brownies are temptation.
The first thing you must teach your children is…What is temptation? Temptation is something that entices (encourages) you to act in a way that is displeasing to God. The biggest lesson I try to get across to my boys is that temptation is NOT a sin. The sin occurs when we act on that temptation in a way that is displeasing to God. The fact that you love your mom’s brownies and that they smell so good is not sinful. You have done nothing to cause them to sit on the counter, smelling so good. The sin occurs when you decide to take a bite of the brownie, going against your mom’s wishes.
I teach 3 steps to dealing with temptation…we call them the 3 R’s in our house. They are remove, resist, and run. We are learning to do at least 1 of these 3 R’s when tempted by something. When 1 of the steps is not possible, we move to the next, then the next if necessary.
Step 1) REMOVE
The first step is to remove the temptation from our life. If it is a book or a picture that is tempting us to act in a sinful manner, then we dispose of it. This step is easy, right? Not always. In our brownie example, this step is not possible. If we were to dispose of the brownies, our mom’s hard work making the brownies would be wasted and we would probably get into trouble with mom, so removal is not an option in this case. So we move on to the next step…
Step 2) RESIST
The next step is to resist the temptation. This is the step we will use most often in our lives because removal will not be possible in many of the temptations that come into our lives. You may ask, “How in the world can I possibly resist those yummy smelling brownies?” Well, you may not be able to, but the Bible tells us that if we stand firm with God, we can overcome anything. He will help us resist! Awesome, right? Absolutely! This is the part where I share some experiences with my children where God has helped me resist temptation. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Resisting temptation is a very difficult step to take, but if we are praying and in The Word daily, we will have the armor we need to resist temptation. In our brownie example, this is where it stops. We can definitely resist this temptation!
STEP 3) RUN
When faced with very difficult or extreme temptation, steps 1 and 2 do not seem like enough, so we will take Joseph’s lead on this one. When Potiphar’s wife tempted Joseph to the point that he was afraid he would fall into sin, he ran…literally! Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by temptation the only thing left to do is run. This is where I use peer pressure as an example. There will be times in your child(ren)’s lives that they are faced with a situation that they will feel the need to run. Give them the confidence that it is ok to run! Teach them to run straight to the Lord and He will deliver them from this temptation.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7
~written by Heidi
Hearts and Trees: Art, Handicrafts and Nature Study for your Homeschool