Temptations can come when you least expect it. When a Christian electrician we know was done with the job at his customer’s home, the man asked him if he wanted to be paid or go back to the bedroom with the man’s wife. Say what?! He was presented with an opportunity to sin, but thank God He took the money he had earned instead.
We are all tempted from time to time.
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 Cor. 10:13 ESV
When temptation comes, God provides the “way of escape.” What was the way of escape for the electrician?
When I was a kid I used to think the way of escape was God’s intervention by some physical means. I played up a scenario in my head:
What if I was innocently watching TV and suddenly a racy scene was about to be shown? The phone would start ringing, and I would go answer it in the other room. (This was before cordless phones. Yes, I’m that old, but I won’t tell if you don’t.) It’s Grandma, calling to have a long chat. When the conversation is over, I would go back to finish the show, but it’s already over. I thought, God, You sure provided a great way of escape!
But then I would worry that the phone wouldn’t ring, and I would not have a route to abandon temptation.
I would pray and ask God to help me by making a natural way of escape available, yet no physical opportunity presented itself. After falling into temptation and sinning, I was becoming frustrated. I thought God wasn’t keeping His promise in that scripture.
But then when I was older I was studying my Bible one day, and I received a revelation. All humans deal with the same kinds of temptation, but what is unique to the individual is God doesn’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we are capable. Instead, He provides the way of escape. (See 1 Cor. 10:13 above.)
What exactly is that way of escape? We’ll cover that in a moment, but first let’s look at what is true about temptation according to the Bible.
Facts about Temptation
- God doesn’t tempt us.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. James 1:13 NASB
- The devil is the Tempter.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Matthew 4:1, 3 NASB
- Temptation isn’t sin.
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:14-15 NASB
The temptation itself isn’t sin, but when we give into the temptation it becomes sin. The verses are a metaphor of a man indulging in his impulses.
- We aren’t tempted beyond our ability.
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 Cor. 10:13b ESV
Remember this. If you are being faced with a temptation, and you think you don’t know what to do, ask the Holy Spirit to bring a verse to your memory. If one doesn’t come to mind, then look one up. If God didn’t think you were strong enough to overcome it, He wouldn’t have allowed you to be tempted with it. The truth you have learned in the Word is for your benefit. Use it freely!
The Way of Escape
We can certainly flee the room or situation, if we’re able. Take Joseph, for example. He took off running as if he was being chased by a nest full of angry hornets. He didn’t want to get stung!
She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. Genesis 39:12 ESV
That wasn’t the only day she was after him. After he was promoted to being responsible for everything in his master’s house, she batted her eyes at him and didn’t beat around the bush. She wanted to get intimate (39:7). He said no right away, but she persisted day after day (39:10).
Not only did Joseph need to flee the physical location of the temptation, but would have needed to respond properly to the daily, verbal bombardment from Potiphar’s wife. She wanted him; she probably fixed herself up fine and turned sultry. If he allowed himself to dwell on her suggestion, there may have been a different outcome to the story.
The devil will also harass us with a mental barrage of tempting thoughts. We will need to respond with wisdom by utilizing the same strategy that Jesus did. He responded with Scripture every time the devil threw another temptation His way (Matthew 4:1-11).
The way to escape temptation is departure: flee physical temptations by using your feet, and abandon mental temptations by speaking the Word.
What is your strategy against temptation?
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