Today’s reading: I Corinthians 8, 9, 10, Proverbs 8
I Cor. 10:11-14
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Temptation is something common to each of us. Temptation by itself is not sin. Agreement with temptation produces sin. Agreement with sin produces a stronghold. It is important to recognize temptation when it comes and realize as long as we do not enter into agreement with it we can avoid sin and overcome the temptation.
There are some important lessons from this passage we can learn about how to overcome temptation. First, realize the stories in the Old Testament were written for our instruction so we could avoid their mistakes. The end of the age will be ushered in by us and it is imperative we learn to master temptation.
For example, David taught us through his sin with Bathsheba that kings are supposed to be in their place in times of battle. Each of us has a divine purpose. Walking in that purpose will go a long way in helping us avoid sin and moral failure.
Elijah taught us that no matter how powerful our ministry or how great the victory we experience over the enemy we are not equipped to deal with some battles alone. He failed miserably against Jezebel’s threats because he had a “loner” mentality.
Next, when Paul says God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able he is referencing the ability and grace of God in us. He is encouraging us to draw on the new creation potential inside us when we are tempted instead of identifying ourselves after the flesh. God is telling us He trusts Himself in us – His righteousness, His power, His grace, and His Son – to defeat every attack of the enemy.
Then He says He will make a way of escape with every temptation. Whenever I seem overwhelmed by the temptation to quit or yield to my flesh I start looking for God’s escape route. He promised that to us. Sometimes it is simply to call a friend who will keep me accountable. Other times it is to change the focus of my attention to something that encourages and strengthens me in my faith.
Finally, as referenced in v. 14, there are some things we just need to flee – run as quick and as fast as we can from – in order to overcome the temptation. God promises us the power over temptation if we stay away from the corner of temptation. There are some people, habits, activities, and environments that seem to exploit our weaknesses more easily than others. If something or someone does not further your walk with God and your love toward others it may become necessary to avoid them.
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After overcoming each temptation He came out in the power of the Spirit. Overcoming temptation in our lives produces power in the Spirit realm. Think about it the next time the devil throws a temptation your way.