The Marshmallow Test: an illustration of temptation and the hope in future rewards

Do you wrestle with temptation? Is delayed gratification a struggle? Of course you do. I do. We all do. Here is a video that may be worth 3 minutes of your time.

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13)


  1. I watched the short video. The thing that kept coming to mind was the temptation right up in your face! If the kids had known to do so, they should have gotten up and moved clear away from the enticement up in their face (…make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires Romans 13:14 b) Like MacArthur has rightfully said,” we have got to be very careful who we listen too, what we watch or read”. We need to stay alert against people, places, and things which war against our souls! Even with the taking heed to these wise counsels, we still have a terrible disposition to sin! Without the implementation of these wise words we would really have a MUCH harder time.

    Time in God’s Word daily along with fervent prayer, a daily intake of doctrinally sound sermon messages, doctrinally sound reading materials, and fighting against the lures of the worldly influences is what I find helpful AND a NECESSITY for a consistent lifestyle that I trust pleases the Lord Jesus Christ.

    PS, I have not arrived, but find great help in the above daily practices! Thank God for our advocate the Lord Jesus Christ! Lastly, keep the marshmallows out of your face, if you don’t - you are asking for trouble!

    Brother Rick
    Metro Atlanta

    James 1:12 ESV /
    Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

    James 1:14-15 ESV /
    But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

    Hebrews 2:1 ESV /
    Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

    Romans 13:13-14 ESV
    Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

  2. Okay so first, I just heard David Jeremiah use this illustration on a recent Turning Point program! lol

    What really struck me - a few things:

    1) Interestingly, some of the children, while not eating the marshmallow entirely, actually did take a tiny speck of it! We like to see how close we can get to the cliff of sin without falling over...maybe just a little won't be breaking the rules... right?? ;)

    2) The one boy who simulated going to eat it (opened his mouth, then closed his eyes)...kind of that process we go through as we consider our actions. Having been tempted, we ask ourselves, what would it really feel like to do this? Will it really be that bad after all...?

    3) A few of the kiddos had absolutely no concept of what it meant to wait (to not get what was right in front of them at that moment). As humans we can definitely let our impulses and natural feelings control us.

    Thanks for the post. :)

  3. Daniel and Melissa Parlane has left a new comment on your post "The Marshmallow Test":

    Another perspective on the marshmallow test and using it to illustrate sin.


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