Tonight we continue our exploration of The Lords Prayer with the 6th and 7th petitions, “Save us from the time of trial” and “And deliver us from evil”. We’ll be answering a very tough question when people begin to discus the ideas of temptation and evil.
How do I stop doing things I know I shouldn’t do?
The first thing Jesus did after his baptism was to spend 40 days in the wilderness, during which time he was tempted by the devil. And though we might think otherwise, Jesus really was tempted. In fact, the wonder of the incarnation is that in Jesus, God truly experienced all of human life, including temptations. That should give us comfort.
We should also take comfort that virtually every person we read about in the Bible, from the Hebrew patriarchs, kings, and prophets to the New Testament apostles, struggled with doing the very things they knew they should not do. And yet, whether it was after worshiping a golden calf or denying Jesus, God consistently offered forgiveness and love to those who did what they should not have done.
How do we stop doing things we know we shouldn’t do? First, recognize that failures are endemic to the human experience. Christians call this “confession.” Christians confess together that we fall short of God’s glory. And second, exhibit self-control over those things that tempt you, turning to God for extra strength. Christians call this “prayer and self-examination.” We do not do the things that tempt us because we are called to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. It’s neighbor love that guides our actions.
Tonight we’ll explore the ideas of temptation and making bad decisions. We’ll start out by answering some “Would you rather…” questions together. Then we’ll consider Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness by showing what some of our devils might look like today. For today’s small group activity CREW members will have the chance to play the role of the person making a decision, the proverbial angel on the shoulder, or the opposing devil in a few different circumstances. This week’s take home activity asks students to make an origami cross and carry it around in their pocket or backpack for the next week. Before we get back next week students have to answer some questions about your experience to complete the activity.