Often, when someone has been caught in a sin, his first response is, I couldnt help itI had to do it In an effort to appease our consciences, we regularly assume that there are temptations that we must give in toour own personal besetting sins.
1 Corinthians 10:13 challenges the believer with three significant truths regarding our response to temptation. If we are willing to accept and apply these truths as relevant to our lives today, we can and will live in victory over temptation on a consistent basis.
TRUTH #1: Temptation is normal and is not unique to me. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man James describes temptation as being drawn away by our own lusts and enticed. Essentially, temptation is when Satan tries to convince the believer to fulfill a God-given desire in the wrong way or at the wrong time. Remember, temptation itself is not sin (even Jesus was tempted, yet without sin), and therefore we need not feel guilty when tempted, unless we give in to the temptation.
Another trap that Satan tries to convince us of is that we are all alone in this type of temptation and therefore can receive no help in overcoming it. This is completely false! Christ was in all points tempted like as we are tempted. Satan has been using the same temptations since the beginning of the world, and just modifies the look of them to appeal to our modern appetites. Dont give in to temptation just because you feel alone or trapped. God knows all about your temptation and has a way of escape!
TRUTH #2: God is faithful. It is vitally important that we understand that God does not change. His characteristics of holiness, justice, righteousness, etchave never and will never change. Because of this, we understand that Gods standards and plans never change. He will not change the rules in the middle of our temptation and will not leave us to face them alone. He promises I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. God is only ever one prayer away, whether that be a prayer of repentance or a desperate prayer for deliverance!
TRUTH #3: There is a way of escape! God promises that He will not put the believer in a position impossible to escape. Based on the very Word of God, there will always be a way out of every temptation. The problem is that we often pass by that way of escape without even recognizing it. The way of escape is always directly linked to Scripture. Sometimes the Bible will give a specific promise to use against Satan, and other times Gods Word will give clear instructions on how to face the temptation (like flee, run, resist).
Remember, God will never put us into a temptation that we cannot bear. If we feel that we had to give in to the temptation, it is because we chose to ignore Gods way. In many mountains, there are escape ramps on especially dangerous parts of the highway. Trucks that have lost their brakes on the steep grades have one opportunity to use this escape. If they choose not to take it, it means destruction of property and very often death.
When facing temptation, we must desire an escape. How sad it is to see believers openly choosing spiritual deadness by purposely ignoring a God-given escape! We must also be looking for an escapethis comes from a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and His Word. God is waiting for the believer to call to Him for help, because we cannot resist temptation on our own. Victory requires surrender to Christ. Only when we are completely submitted to God, can we successfully resist the Devil and receive His grace to emerge victorious over the temptation (James 4:6-7).
Finally, we must actually take the escape that God provides. Though it may sound obvious, how many of us have known what to do to escape temptation but have given in? Gods escape is a path to consistent victory. By His grace, take Gods escape every time!