1 Corinthians 10:13
Posted October 01, 2012
13 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.
For an interesting conversation, just ask someone what they think of when they hear the word "temptation". Some believe that we are merely creatures controlled by our instincts and should whatever makes us feel most alive or the happiest. Others seem to feel guilty for feeling any forms of pleasure or joy in the things of the world. The Bible rejects both extremes and teaches us that God did not create humans to be prisoners to our desires nor stoics who live a desire-less existence. Rather, we were created for solid truer joys than the shadowed flimsy versions we settle for. This verse gives us great hope in resisting the call of the Sirens (whatever that may be for you) and responding to the voice of our kind Maker who calls us to true living. We learn a few things about temptation:
1) Temptation, in and of itself, is not a sin.
Do not confuse temptation with sin! Temptation is the temptation to sin, but only becomes sin when we give into it, or "are overcome by it". Jesus Himself was tempted and yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15-16). Martin Luther once said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”
2) We are not alone in our temptation.
We just saw that because Jesus was tempted, He also is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. Not only that, but Satan wants us to feel shame and guilt for some of the temptations that run through our heads. He will point his finger at us and say, "The thoughts and desires running through your veins are so horrid no one would even believe you if you told them. And if you did, they'd reject you." This verse affirms just the opposite. We are not alone. If you have breath, you will be tempted for no one is immune to it. Reach out to Christ and to others.
3) God's faithfulness always provides a way out.
Not only is Christ sympathetic to our temptation, but He is faithful to us in providing a way out of it. We are not slaves to our desires, as strong as they may feel! Your family lineage doesn't have to determine your fate. Through faith in Christ and His work for us on the cross, God gives us a new heart with new and better desires. He also gives us His Holy Spirit to empower us in our weakness!
4) God's faithfulness doesn't exclude us from effort.
Though God may be faithful, we still must be faithful in resisting and saying no to sin and yes to God. This is all part of dying to sin & mortifying our flesh (Romans 8:13, Galatians 5:24). While Christ was crucified for our sin once and for all, this does not exclude us from crucifying our sin by His strength. Sometimes this feels challenging, but it's part of our journey towards holiness and becoming like Christ.
5) Enduring temptation through flight.
The word "endure" might convey victory over temptation by plugging our ears and humming to ourselves in hopes of forgetting whatever temptation was beckoning. This is not at all what Paul was calling us to. Just read on to the next verse! It says, "Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry!" We do as Joseph did, running from Potiphar's wife (temptation) and to God (obedience & joy). We flee from idols & their temporary pleasures, and flee to God and His offer of eternal pleasure.
What will we be overtaken by? The voice of temptation and the short-term pleasures of sin or the voice of God and His promise of eternal pleasures? You will flee to something or someone, so flee wisely. We pray it's to God who is forever faithful and not the arms of a lover that will leave you cold & alone. Your sin will eventually betray you, but God will never turn away or abandon you. Memorize this verse as fuel in your fight against sin and to find joy in Jesus. Another tool is John Piper's acronym called ANTHEM. You can read about it here: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/anthem-strategies-for-fighting-lust
This week's song was written by Joel Limpic, produced by Dustin Ragland, and features Ariella Wilson's vocals. We pray the song helps you memorize and meditate on this verse.