The Marshmallow Test

Is your faith like the marshmallow test?

The Marshmallow Test

Categories: Sermons,Uncategorized


You can have one marshmallow now, or if you wait you can have two later…

This is the “Marshmallow Test” and it has been used for years to evaluate children’s patience and forethought, as well as to make cute videos.

In this message we ask the question:

  • is our faith life like the marshmallow test?
  • Are we just waiting for the test to be over so we can receive our reward, or is there more to it than that? 
  • What if we already ate the marshmallow?

The Marshmallow Test from Redemption Church on Vimeo.

The Marshmallow test

Sermon notes by Marshal Blessing

Redemption Church Plano Tx


Welcome.           Today I want to tell you about the Marshmallow Test.

Describe the marshmallow test: 1970, Stanford, 600 children ages 4 – 6, checked up 18 yrs later

Set up the marshmallow test.

We’re going to break for five minutes.  Discuss: Is our faith like the marshmallow test? Why or why not?

*BREAK*Run the 5 min countdown again*

Is our faith like the marshmallow test?

Is our faith like the marshmallow test? Sort-of

In some general ways it sort of is.

We resist the pleasures of this world, with a hope and an expectation of the joy to come.

We’re waiting for Christ

We resist temptation

If we are able to resist temptation we will be better equipped for life

A marshmallow is kind of like sin.

Looks good, smells good, tastes good – for a season

In the long run it drains you – It contains no nutrition

It hurts you – if you ate only marshmallows you would get a stomach ache and cavities

Not a perfect metaphor because at the end of our faith life we don’t get double sin.

The pleasures of this world cannot compare to the joy of the life in the next.

The marshmallow test depends on trust.

If the kids don’t trust that the scientist will give them two marshmallows they won’t wait.

Many people don’t have faith because they don’t trust that it’s true.

Your faith will only extend as far as you trust God.

The marshmallow test is also similar to one specific aspect of our faith – Fasting.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline.  It is mentioned throughout the Bible, but we don’t talk about it.

Matthew 6:16-18 Why would Jesus give us instructions if we weren’t supposed to do it?

Fasting is powerful.  This kind only comes out through prayer and fasting.

Fasting doesn’t help God hear us.  Prayers of righteous avail much.  Fasting doesn’t make us righteous.

It helps us hear God.  It quiets the other voices.  It empties us of ourselves so we can be filled by Him.

Fasting humbles us.  It shows us how much we depend on God.

Some people treat their faith like a marshmallow test.  The have to resist their marshmallow, and they want to “help” you resist yours too.

Maybe you treat church like a marshmallow test.  You go to a room, sing some songs, listen to a guy talk at you for a while, and put off watching football for an hour or two.  And if you do that enough you get a reward!

If you view your relationship with God like a marshmallow test – He set everything up and now He is sitting back and waiting to see if you will eat the marshmallow – then I challenge you to change your thinking.

Is our faith like the marshmallow test? NO

Our faith life is not a marshmallow test.

Our faith life is not something we should suffer through.  Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4-7

                                Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; …

Not done in isolation.  Not a competition.

The enemy wants to isolate us and turn it into a competition.
“Look, I didn’t eat as much of my marshmallow as that guy.”
Luke 18:9-14 “I fast twice a week… Thank you that I’m not like that guy.”

The early church got together all the time.  They gathered for fellowship.  They broke bread together.  They had everything in common.  This isn’t just my marshmallow, it’s yours too.

With God there is forgiveness. When the marshmallow is gone there is another.

Instead the marshmallow represents God’s blessings: love, grace, mercy

Lamentations 3:22-24 His mercies are new every morning…

The reward is already available.

We’re not taking away peoples marshmallows.  We are called to share God’s blessings.

Psalm 34:8 NKJV  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Share your marshmallows.  Other people outside the church tend to hide their marshmallows, especially when they see “churchy” folks coming.  Share yours eagerly!

Your marshmallow test is to see how many you can give away

You need to be in touch with God to be most effective

God does not leave the room.

Author: Pastor Chris Fluitt

Chris Fluitt serves as Lead Pastor at Redemption Church. He is husband to Sarah, and Daddy to Will, Hudson & Joshua.

Worshipper, Husband, Father, Musician, Songwriter, Blogger, Nerd, Social Media Buff, Sportaholic

Connect on Google+