No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
Let’s clear up a few things right from the start. Like what? You will never face a temptation that is unique to you. Others have and will face temptations just like yours. Others have faced what you will face and have been able to stand up under the same temptation. Why is this important for you to know? If I thought that a temptation was unique to me I might begin to have a poor me attitude. What else? I might begin to believe that I couldn’t possibly stand up under such a unique and powerful temptation. That’s right. I have something more to say about that. I’m listening. That’s good. What I am about to say is also very important for you to hear and believe. You have my full attention. I will never let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. Tell me why it is so important for you to hear and believe this as well. If I didn’t believe this I might make excuses for myself and try to rationalize or justify my not standing up against temptation. That’s right. It’s good that we cleared up these few points right at the start, don’t you think? Yes, I do. Good answer.
Now we are going to dig a little deeper. I’m ready. I will always provide you a way of escape out of temptation. What does knowing this require of you? I need to be looking for and ready to take the way of escape out of temptation that you will provide for me. Yes, that’s right. Is there anything else you want to say? I know from experience that the way of escape out of temptation usually comes early in the temptation. What else do you know from your experience? I know that if I linger around temptation I will never be able to escape from it. Why is that? Temptation is too enticing and alluring. I need to run from it the second that I see it coming near to me. I need to immediately take the way of escape that you will provide. Yes, you do. There is quite a bit more that you want to say isn’t there? Yes, there is. Go ahead, I’m listening. Sometimes the way of escape that you provide comes even before the temptation arrives. What do you mean by that? You and I both know how I am most likely to be tempted. Yes, we do. You want me to avoid tempting situations and circumstances. You also want me to remove anything from my life that feeds whatever is likely to tempt me. Yes, I do. Avoiding tempting situations and circumstances and removing whatever feeds my temptations are ways of escape that you have provided to me. Yes, they are.
Now lets dig even a little deeper. What else is there? You will never be able to resist temptation with your own strength alone. No surprise there. How did I resist temptation? What did I use when temptation came upon me? You used God’s word in response to temptation. Yes, I did. Why was I able to use God’s word to resist temptation? You knew God’s word. Yes, I did. What does that tell you? If I want to be able to stand against temptation I must know God’s word as well. That’s right. So, on the one hand I need to starve what feeds temptation and on the other hand I need to feast on what helps me to stand against temptation. That’s exactly right. Will you feast on my word? Yes Lord, I will. Do you know what will happen when you remain in my word and my words remain in you? Yes, I do. Tell me. The Holy Spirit will use your word like a sword to fight in me, with me and for me against temptation. Yes, He will. Then you will be able to stand up against temptation. Then you will be able to see and take the way of escape out of temptation that I have provided for you. That’s what I will do.
Lord, I have faith that you will always provide me with a way of escape out of temptation. I will look for and immediately take the way of escape you provide for me. I know that no temptation will be too strong for me to resist and stand against. Amen
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