Friday, January 13, 2017

Hope In the Midst of Temptation

No temptation has overtaken you
 but such as is common to man;
 and God is faithful,
 who will not allow you to be tempted
 beyond what you are able,
 but with the temptation
 will provide the way of escape also,
 so that you will be
 able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB

My parents often told me to be careful when choosing friends as you become like those with whom you spend a lot of time. As a child, I didn’t quite get it and thought it was just an old saying passed down through the generations of my Appalachian heritage. But at age thirteen I experienced the concept and the repercussions first hand.

I had a friend who was allowed to be sassy to her mother with no fear of disciplinary action. Since she lived directly across the street, we saw each other every day. We walked to and from the school bus stop together. We climbed trees together. We walked down the street to Lake Erie and swam together. We spent a lot of time together.

I remember well the day my mother told me to do something I did not want to do. I snapped back at her with an attitude that mirrored that of my good friend. My major miscalculation—daddy overheard! That was the last spanking I ever received. You see, we were never allowed to disrespect mother in our home—under any circumstances! But I succumbed to the temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 explains there is no such thing as a new temptation. Wrong desires and temptations happen to everyone. The author of Psalm 91 reminds us that the LORD will save us from the fowler’s snare. Like a hunter who baits a snare in order to catch a wild animal, our enemy sets a trap for us with temptations he hopes we cannot resist. The Greek word for tempted translated here into English means to try to trap. Satan sets a trap hoping that we will fail and sin. His motivation is to destroy; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10)

When facing temptation, you may recall past failures, perhaps separation from loved ones, disappointment in yourself, or fear of repeating past behavior. But God has already prepared your way of escape, your way out, your exit from the time of temptation so you will be able to endure it, stand up under it, and bear up under it.

As recorded in Matthew 4, Jesus himself was tempted by satan. When He was hungry, satan offered Him a stone turned to bread. Standing on the highest point of the temple, satan tempted Him to prove He was God. Atop a high mountain, looking out over the kingdoms of the world, satan tempted Jesus to bow down and worship the evil one, and then he would give Jesus the world. But each time Christ answered, “It is written…”

So you see, being tempted does not mean you have already sinned but rather the enemy is trying to get you to sin. Your way of escape, endurance, bearing up under the temptation is the Word of God. John 1 tells us the Word was in the beginning, with God, and the Word was God. “Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.’ (John 1:3)

How do you escape temptation? You go to the Word! Hebrews 4:12-13 is a reminder that God’s Word is alive, active in our lives, judging the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.” Verse 13.

So, trusting the Word of God is your hope in the midst of temptation. “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4.

© Joyce Powell

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