“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 Co 10:13.
Yesterday we took a hard look at loneliness while today we will consider its playmate – temptation. We all have temptations that we have battled for years. They hang in the back of our spiritual closets well aware that we will eventually grab for them again. They never go out of style and unfortunately our weight doesn’t determine whether we get back in them again. We can slip them on just as easily as we could 10 years ago…20 years ago…even 40 years ago. Even as we read these words on the paper the sin that tempts us is never very far from our mind. We transform it…we mold it…we massage it…we try to morph it in to something that is acceptable in our lives and yet it still has great power. The difference is not in the power of our temptation, rather the weakness in our armors.
As our passage states God has provided ways to live above our temptations as they remain with us. It doesn’t state that God will take away the temptation for many times it is what God uses to make us dependent upon Him. It does state that He will make sure that our temptation is met with the appropriate endurance required but it comes with work. Several things that have helped me over the years regarding my temptation of spending have been to be watchful and alert when going shopping. Am I feeling discontent or lonely? Did I go shopping because I am feeling out of sorts for the moment? Another tool I use is simply avoiding places without purpose such as going shopping when there is designated purchase. Many times I will forego shopping trips with friends to avoid that feeling of my sin rising upon me. Blessedly, I have friends who are all frugal who are great models for spending. All of these are good strategies but the most important is to stay near to God and His word. His faithfulness regarding our temptations is not just given to us. His promise is obtained through the fellowship of God and activated through His strength instead of our own. We cannot expect God to be faithful to His promise if we are not willing to be sacrificial to our own desires. We must identify the tools for self-control and be steadfast in our determination partner with God. It is tough to hold hands with our sin when we are holding our hands around our Bibles.
‘Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial [temptation], for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God promised to those who love him’ James 1:12.