(1 Corinthians 10:13)
Walking in Christ is not an easy journey. We are called to receive life into eternity, but the road to that life is filled with struggles, troubles, trials and tribulations, for that is our lot as we walk with Christ Jesus.
We are warned about this many times in the Bible and are told that it will be a difficult journey. But the end goal and the promise of the Lord far outweighs the discomforts we may come against in this time.
And aside from the battles we face with the direct opposition of the devil and the problems he throws at us, we have the internal battles against the passions, lusts and desires of human nature. It is these that the devil so often tries to turn against us by putting temptations in our way to cause the passions and desires to be inflamed and to cause us to fall down.
But we see in this scripture that God promises us protection, so we must remember this as we are tempted.
Temptations come in many forms, perhaps as many and varied as there are people on this planet. What is a temptation to one person is nothing to someone else, but we all have something that can be a weakness and a chink in our protective armour if we let temptation in.
For some the temptations are physical. Lust, desire, passion and so on can be the downfall of those who suffer in such ways. Others may be tempted by forms of substance abuse or abuses to the body with alcohol, drugs, nicotine and the like.
But all people first suffer temptations in the mind. All temptation begins with a thought or a desire as temptations come upon us. And we recognise the internal battle that rages within us as we attempt to push away the temptation and not succumb to whatever is our particular weakness.
Every Christian understands this feeling and these problems, especially when they first come to the Lord and are trying to “clean up” their life. They learn to reject the things of the world and the things they did in the past in an attempt to live as pure and clean a life as possible.
And we are fortunate in these endeavours for God has promised help for us when we are tempted and has provided a means by which we can push through those difficult times.
We see God's promise in this verse today which says:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Note these first few words. All temptations you may experience are “common to man.” There is nothing new about what you are going through but it has happened to others before you. So first and foremost, when you are tempted do not think that you are alone. Other people have been there and have successfully overcome, and if they can, so can you.
You should also be aware that as other people have been similarly tempted, so too Jesus Christ was tempted just as we are when He walked the earth, so He too understands and helps us when we are tempted. And furthermore, Jesus went through those temptations we suffer without falling down and sinning. So if anyone can help us be victorious over temptation and sin, surely it is Jesus Christ who has already conquered. Note these words:
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Secondly we see that God is faithful. God is a God of faith, and just as we come to Him by faith, He faithfully promises to keep His end of the deal by helping us as we walk with Him. He will not throw you to the wolves to be torn apart and destroyed by the devil.
Third, we see that temptations will come, as we know they do, but God is in control for He will not permit the temptations that come upon and against us to be beyond what we can bear. As a Christian you will not be subjected to temptations so dire that you cannot stand in the face of them, provided you stand in the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ as you stand against the temptations. This is a wonderful promise and shows us again that even in our moments of desperation, God is there and He is in control.
Fourth, we find that with every temptation that comes against us, God will provide the way of escape. There will ALWAYS be a way of escape from the temptation and that way of escape is to seek Jesus. We escape by walking in the spirit as the temptation comes against us. When we are in the spirit as Paul tells us in Romans 8 we do not gratify the desires of the flesh and so they fall away from us. It is all about where we focus our minds as the temptations arise. When we focus on the spirit we are strong and able to conquer through the spirit. But if we focus on the fleshly desires, we fall and are separated from the Lord.
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. – (Romans 8:3-8)
And again in Galatians, Paul emphasise this point of walking in the spirit so that we do not gratify the desires of the flesh that tempt us away from the truth and the ways of the Lord.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. – (Galatians 5:16-18)
Finally we see in the scripture we are looking at today that the way of escape is not so that we can AVOID the temptation, but rather that we will be able to endure it.
Temptations are necessary and they come upon us to prove us and help us learn how to fight the temptations. As we conquer each temptation that afflicts us, we grow stronger and more capable of standing in the fiery ordeals that would try to consume us.
But as noted already, God protects us so that we are not consumed, but rather like gold we are purified by the fires of temptation, trials and tribulations. Each time we go through these things we become stronger, more resilient and more capable and able to stand against all forms of temptation and sin.
God is training us through these things to become His people. He is bringing us to maturity so that we are able to stand and fight the good fight. He wants His people to be strong in the Lord, relying on the strength of God through the Holy Spirit to overcome. And when we do this, we are also able to help His people likewise stand against the problems and issues they face when tempted.
So remember this and remind yourself that if you are going through difficult times,you are being trained and that the Lord has your back. Whatever temptation comes against you, know for a certainty that you will be able to stand against it by looking to the Lord. He promised you would not be tempted beyond your strength so also remember that He knows the limits of your strength and that He is willing and able to help you through whatever comes against you.
Look to the Lord in these times of need and seek him out. Walk in the spirit so that your mind is focussed on the things of the Lord and not wallowing in the misery of the flesh and the temptation that is trying to pull you down.
God is faithful and He will bring you through your trials and you will be stronger for it afterwards.
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