So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 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.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV)
Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Consider: Have you ever watched extreme sports? Recently I watched a television programme where skiers would climb mountains and then ski down precipitous slopes. It all looked a bit dangerous to me and despite the skiers weighing up the risks, occasionally things went wrong and they were put in danger of losing their lives.
Some people treat temptation in the same way; they like to live dangerously.
With temptation it is better not to put yourself in harm’s way. Avoidance is probably the best way to deal with temptation. You might find yourself weakest when watching a certain type of film or programme, or being in the company of a particular group of people, or reading books, or even having time on your hands allowing your mind to wander. Whatever it is that causes you to stumble, try to avoid the situation. We must also recognise that not all temptations can be anticipated and sometimes we can find ourselves being tempted in areas where we thought we were strong. Paul’s warning to the Corinthian believers is equally pertinent to us today: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
Paul, is aware that there are no temptations we can face that other people will not also experience. This should reassure us that God understands human frailty and when we are tempted, we are not alone. It is also very easy for us to look at other Christians and assume that they don’t struggle with temptation. Younger Christians often look at older Christians and think that as they have more life experience they mustn’t be subject to temptation. I can assure you this isn’t true. As Christians we all have to deal with temptation throughout our lives. It is not that we are tempted that is the issue, it is how we deal with the temptation that matters.
Are you encouraged by the knowledge that despite being tempted, God is still faithful to us. Paul tells us that God will not let us be tempted beyond our strength, although most of us give in to temptation well before we reach our limit. Also when we are tempted, we are told that God will provide us a way to resist it, so that we can endure it. Remember how Jesus was tempted by Satan and how he resisted it? Jesus used Scripture as his means of challenging Satan and overcoming temptation. We can do the same. Of course you need to know the Bible, so that you can use particular verses when tempted. If you want to be able to resist temptation, get to know your Bible.
Pray: Father, forgive us for thinking that overcoming temptation is about our strength, rather than about your faithfulness. You know us and our weaknesses, yet still provide us with the means to resist temptation. Help us when tempted to remind ourselves of your promises from Scripture and rely on your strength to overcome it. Amen