Enjoy a game of Tug of War.

Discussion point: Sometimes we feel pulled toward sin. When we pray to Jesus, He will help us win against temptation.

Arrange a game of Tug of War. One-on-one games of Tug of War work well if you use a bath towel or short rope. A longer rope or rolled up sheet is needed to play with more children. To play, use a line or a make a mark on the floor or ground to indicate a centre point. Have the competitors stand an equal distance from the centre line, holding the towel or rope. At the cry of “Go!” both teams try to pull the other team across the centre line.

Mix up the teams and play until the children are ready for a break. For the sake of your later discussion, during one of the competitions, join in and help one team, pulling hard enough to help your team win easily.

String licorice can be a fun snack to serve alongside this activity and can be given out as a reward for good sportsmanship.

Questions for discussion
  • How did you feel when your team was pulled over the line?
  • What happened when I (the parent) helped one side?
  • Have you ever experienced a strong pull or desire to do something wrong, even though you knew you shouldn’t?
  • Did you know that, in the Bible, Paul described having that same feeling?

Read Romans 7:15, 18-19 and Galatians 5:16-17 (see “relevant Scripture”).

  • According to Paul, what is it in us that makes us want to do wrong?
  • What can we do about our sinful nature?

Read Galatians 5:22-26.

  • How will we act when God’s Spirit is controlling our lives?
  • Who can help you say no to sin?
Key concepts

Sometimes, even though we know the right choice to make, we still choose to sin. As disappointing and discouraging as this is, we can be encouraged knowing that Paul, one of the greatest missionaries who ever served God, had the same problem.

Paul experienced a tug of war with sin and he wrote about how we can win in the war against sin. Paul discovered that the solution is to “live by the Spirit.” By this he means asking God to give you His desires in place of the sinful desires that we are all born with.

The best news is that because Jesus was tempted as Paul was – and as you and I are – Jesus knows how to help us stay strong against temptation if we pray and ask Him to win the “tug of war” for us. The power of the Holy Spirit is a bit like having the adult pulling on one side of the Tug of War rope. There was absolutely no way the other team had a chance when the adult pulled. In the same way, Satan doesn’t stand a chance against the power of God.

Relevant Scripture

Romans 7:15, 18-19 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. …I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.”

Galatians 5:16-17 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

Galatians 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Hebrews 2:18 “Because He himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”