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Posted by Daniel Maddry on



Bible: Hebrews 3:12 (The Passion Translation) 

Bottom Line: We can encourage each other in the faith as we fight against temptation.


  • Pool noodle
  • Vegetable oil
  • Pack of baby wipes
  • Bandana
  • Painter’s tape
  • 3 orange cones


This game uses vegetable oil, which can leave stains on the carpet.

You can either place a tarp on the floor before the game beings, play the game outdoors, or risk it and clean up after the game is over.

Use two orange cones to mark a starting point for each team.

Use the painter’s tape to create a long line on the floor about 10-feet in front of the cones.

Place the remaining orange cone in the middle of the tape line.

Tie the bandana around the middle of the pool noodle – leave it dangling from the pool noodle.

Cover the entire pool noodle with vegetable oil – this will make it slippery to hold.

Divide students into two teams of equal size and have them form lines behind their team’s cone.


Say: This game is a fun twist on the traditional game, “tug-of-war.”

You have played it before, but I promise you have never played it this way.

Our “rope” will be this pool noodle – it’s a little bit easier on your hands than a rope, but we don’t want to make it too easy for our game.

So, we have covered the pool noodle in vegetable oil to make it a little difficult to handle.

Our group has been divided into two teams.

When I say GO, the first person in each team’s line will run down to the cone and grab one end of the pool noodle.

If you reach the pool noodle before the other team, you can grab it, pull it to your team's side, and that round is over.

The winner of that round will run back to their team and get in line again.

The person from the other team who didn’t reach the pool noodle in time is out of the game and they will go sit down.

If both players run down and grab the pool noodle at the same time, then tug-of-war will begin.

The first person to pull the bandana on the pool noodle over the cone and to their team’s side – wins that round.

The winning team member will go back to their team, and the losing team member will go sit down.

The game is over when there are no players left on one team.

The team with remaining players wins the game.

For each round, I will say GO, so both teams have the same gameplay advantage. 

After the game, allow students a minute to clean their oily hands with baby wipes.


Say: Tug-of-war is a game that’s been around for hundreds of years.

From 1900-1920, tug-of-war was part of the Olympic Games.

Believe it or not, it was at the center of controversy at the 1908 Olympics.

Great Britain found a way to give their team an advantage – their team wore enormous, heavy shoes.

In fact, their shoes weighed so much that they could hardly lift their feet from the ground.

In this particular match, they were competing against the United States who protested the unfair advantage.

When the Olympic Committee allowed Great Britain’s team to compete anyway, the United States team withdrew from the competition.

They recognized that it would have been too difficult to win, so they didn’t even try.

The game of tug-of-war is an excellent example of what temptation looks like in our lives.

This struggle exists for every person that has ever walked on planet earth.

Temptation is the desire to do something, especially something that is wrong.

As a follower of Jesus, you have the desire to do what God wants you to do, but the desire to do wrong never entirely goes away.

So, that’s what produces the tug-of-war in our hearts.

Read Hebrews 3:12.

So search your hearts every day, my brothers and sisters, and make sure that none of you has evil or unbelief hiding within you.

For it will lead you astray, and make you unresponsive to the living God.

This verse encourages us to be aware of the tug-of-war that happens in our soul.

And not only to be aware that it's there but to ask God to reveal these struggles to you.

If not dealt with, your sinful nature will lead you away from God.

Ask: So, how are you aware of what is happening in your heart?

How do you know if you are close to God or close to giving in to temptation?

Allow a few responses from students.

One of the keys to being aware of what’s going on in your heart is to know what to do when you are tempted, and even what to do when you give into temptation.

That’s when one of the greatest gifts God has given to help us in our faith comes into play – each other.

Not only do we need others, but we need others to encourage us every day.

Why? Because temptation is tough and it’s even tougher if you try to face it alone – without God’s help and without each other.

The Christian life is not a quick walk in the park.

It is a long-distance marathon, and we need each other to go the distance.

So, we are called to encourage one another daily so that when we are tempted to sin, we aren’t struggling alone.

Think back to the story of Great Britain… in their game of tug-of-war, they came up with a plan that gave them an advantage – heavy shoes.

In the tug-of-war in your soul, your “heavy shoes” are God and the encouragement of others.

With this advantage, when you are tempted, you will be able to overcome and win.

Temptation will never go away, but it is awesome to know that when we are tempted, God will never leave you and neither should those who love and encourage you in the faith.

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