God Will Provide A Way For You To Honor Him When You Are Tempted/Tested
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Paul warns us that we should take a careful look at how we are walking. When we think that we are doing well, and we are standing, BEWARE! It is very likely that we will fall. Pride has a tendency to distract us from having a proper perception of our circumstances. While there are many who are walking properly, when we think we are walking, pay careful and close attention to your walk; that is usually when you are about to step into a large pit of slimy quicksand up to your ears.
Paul tells us that there are common temptations that assail us. The Apostle John lists them in three categories:
- The lust of the eyes
- The lust of the flesh
- The pride of life
These are the same methods that Satan tried to use to when he was testing Jesus after his forty day fast. James reiterates that temptation is caused by our own evil desires:
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
There is no temptation that is unique to you; it just feels that way. You will find, if you talk to other people whom you can trust will hold what you say in confidence, that everyone faces similar temptations. The source may be different, but the temptation is the same. Everyone has different triggers, and it is up to us to ask God to remove those triggers so that we can start to react differently to temptation. Removing a trigger in you life doesn’t mean that the evil desire is removed; it means that we have more than a microsecond to remember that we can say “NO!” to the temptation rather than giving in to it.
It is terrible when we feel helpless to say “NO” to temptation. But the reason that we say “YES” is that we are not saying “NO” in the first place! God is faithful, and He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to bear up under it. We may not believe that, because we have been yielding to temptation for so long that, like Pavlov’s dogs, we automatically say “YES!” when the opportunity is presented to us. But God is not cruel, and He will provide a way for us to honor Him when we face our temptations.
The way to honor God during temptation is not easy. And we need His help to overcome all temptation. The good news is that the blood of Jesus Christ has freed us from the bondage of sin, so we now have the CAPABILITY to say “NO!” to temptation. But how can we do that when our bodies are weak, and fail us each and every time we are presented with a challenge?
God is faithful to provide us with many examples in the Bible on how to deal with temptation. The very first mention of temptation was when God approached Cain, and told him that if he did what was wrong, sin was crouching at his door, but he needed to rule over it:
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Joseph was placed into a precarious situation with Potiphar’s wife. She desired to know him physically, and even engineered a situation where they would be alone so there would be no witnesses. When Joseph realized the situation that he was in, he escaped sin by performing the ultimate Houdini act – he escaped by running as fast as he could from the temptation. This is not always possible, but it can be very effective.
When Nehemiah was faced with the temptation to hide in the temple from his enemies, he perceived that this was a ruse to get him to sin. Nehemiah refused to give in to the ploy, and did not cower in the temple. Temptation can come from may places. It is important to remember to be vigilant in guarding ourselves against the wiles of the enemy as he tries to get us to do what is not right in the eyes of Almighty God.
Jesus Himself gave us a wonderful way to face temptation. He used scripture to refute it. God will give us the ability and the way to escape temptation. However, we must remember that there may be consequences for saying “NO!” Joseph was placed in jail after Potiphar’s wife lied about her seductress encounter with him. The fate of many of the saints in the second half of Hebrews 11 tells of their woes.
We too may face social, career, financial, and possibly many other types of loss, ruination, or troubles because we have chosen to say “NO!” to temptation. These consequences may have lasting repercussions in our lives here on Earth, as well as our family’s lives. Count the cost – God desires obedience in the face of opposition. But God is faithful, and as we are obedient to Him, He will provide a way for us. Even if that way is to be reunited with Him in glory.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: What is my tendency when I am presented with a temptation?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, Thank You for Your faithfulness in all things. Thank You for providing a way to say “NO!” to temptation. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to honor and glorify You with my mind, my words, and my body. Help me to be faithful, even unto death, so that You may be praised, honored and glorified. Strengthen me during my trials, and show me the way to resist them so that I would honor You. And when I have been backed into a corner, whether through my own fault, or the evil, sadistic, hateful plots of others to discredit and destroy me, give me the strength to do what is right, even in the face of death. I pray that You would help me when the fallout from these encounters causes my circumstances to be grim and dire. I know, Father, that You are sovereign over all things. Help me to endure so that I would not lose my reward. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.