Orthodox Life Session
The purpose of this session is to help participants understand the concept of temptation in a controlled setting. They will identify general tempting situations and learn that being tempted is not sinning in and of itself. Also they will learn that Jesus resisted temptation and that they can, also, by discussing how to resist temptation and learning self-discipline.
Activity: The Temptation Table
On a "temptation table," place the following:
Loaded squirt guns
Squeeze bottle filled with water
Cans of cold pop
Small candies and cookies
A sign that says "nude" covering a photo of a nude animal
Straws in paper wrapping
A sign that says "do not touch"
3x5 cards and pencils
Begin by saying it will be a few minutes before the session. Tell the kids they should check out the things on the table, but they shouldn't touch them. Don't be too convincing about your order not to touch things. Then leave the room or area. After a few minutes, come back and announce that you're ready to begin. Have the kids sit in front of the table. Ask how many used the things on the table. Say it's okay that they did; you simply would like to know. Ask two or three more times, each time reassuring them it's okay to admit they gave in.
If there is a lack of response, hold up the photo covered with the sign that says "Nude," and ask them, "Should we look?" Suggest that even you are tempted to look at it. Then reveal the photo.
Ask, "What is temptation?" Ask for examples of some things that tempt people, such as drugs, sex, nude photos, cheating, sneaking sweets just before dinner. Ask also where these situations may arise.
Activity: Paper Balls
Instruct the kids to form two lines and face each other about 15 feet apart. Give each person a piece of paper to crush into a ball. Tell the kids they must try to hit the person they're facing with the paper ball, but they'll only have one chance. They may throw their ball whenever they want, but if they wait, they may end up closer to their target. Also say that you may stop the game at any time, and those who didn't throw their ball by then miss out. Tell the kids they must sit down where they are once they've thrown their ball. Tell them you might randomly have some kids sit down and not get to throw at all.
Begin when everyone understands the directions. Randomly instruct the teams to move one step closer and tell a few kids to sit down without throwing. After a few minutes, stop the game.
Why did you throw the ball when you did?
Were you tempted to wait or throw sooner? Why?
How did you feel during this game?
How is this like facing other kinds of temptation?"
Give each participant a 3x5 note card and pencil. Read aloud Matthew 4:11. Instruct the kids to write down the three instances of temptation described there (fleshly concerns, deception using scripture, and riches and power). On the other side of the card, have them write down things that tempt them and where that happens.
Discussion Questions: Temptation and Self-Discipline
How do I recognize temptation?
Why isn't being tempted the same thing as sinning?
How can being tempted lead to sin?
How did Jesus resist temptation?
How can I resist temptation?
Is it important to have self-discipline?
How can I improve upon my self-discipline?
What does the Bible say about self-discipline?
Are there ways in which you can keep yourself from being put into a position where temptation could affect you?
Read the following passages about temptation aloud.
"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.
"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." James 1:12-18.
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches." Galatians 6:1-6.
"Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.' And He took with Him Peter an the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.' He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.' Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.' Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, ‘Oh My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.' And he came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.'" Matthew 26:36-46.
What do these passages tell us about temptation and about self-discipline?
Where do we learn self-discipline?
Is it important to have self-discipline? Why?
What are the rewards for exercising self-discipline?
How does this relate to sexual practices?
What does self-discipline tell us about ourselves and about our relationships with God in terms of pre-marital sex?
Close with a prayer.
Street Wise Session
The purpose of this session is to get participants to recognize that messages about sex, sexual activity, and sexual self-images found in the media do not convey a healthy attitude toward the self and sex. This session also aims to gain a better understanding of the Orthodox Christian view of sex, sexuality, and how it relates to the individual.
Begin the session with a prayer.
Activity: Magazine Ads
Materials for the Lesson:
Prepared magazine ad packets
Paper and pencils
Split participants into groups of 6 or 7, and give each group a packet of ads, paper and pencils. Give them 10-15 minutes to look at the ads and to answer the following questions:
What is the first thing you notice in this ad? What are your first thoughts?
What is the main object or focal point of this ad?
What is this ad trying to sell?
Is this ad trying to convey a message? If so, what is the message?
What does this ad say to you?
What does this ad say about sexuality? About our society? About you?
Is there a moral message to this ad? Is there an immoral message in the ad? If so, what are they?
Bring the groups together and ask them how they responded to the questions asked about each ad. Let them share their views for ten to fifteen minutes.
Read the following passages aloud:
"Then the Lord said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him a helper fit for him' So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.' Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife. And they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed." Genesis 2:18-25.
What does this passage tell us about the creation of man and woman and about their relationship to each other?
What does it tell us about marriage and sex? Why or why not?
Can a sexual relationship between a husband and wife be considered holy? Can a sexual relationship between a non-married couple be considered holy? Why or why not?
Read the following passages aloud:
"Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affections due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer: and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:2-5.
What is St. Paul saying about sexuality here?
Does this apply only to married couples?
What is this passage saying about holiness?
Why does St. Paul ask that married couples refrain from sexual activity during times of fasting and prayer?
What is meant by "sexual immorality" and "lack of self-control"?
Read the following passages aloud:
"Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her: for "the two," he says, "shall become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Who you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:13-20.
How are our bodies members of Christ?
How does someone who commits sexual immorality sin "against his own body?"
What does it mean that we are "not [our] own?"
What is the significance of the passage "for you were bought at a price" with regard to sexuality?
How do these passages relate to the magazine project?
What image of sexuality are the ads displaying? What image of sexuality does the Church want us to imitate?
What do the articles tell us about our society's values? Does the Church have a different set of values?
What are the main differences between the attitudes of sexuality in the articles with the attitudes of sexuality that the Orthodox Church holds?
Close with a prayer.
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