1 Corinthians 10:13
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
Today’s passage is an important concept for Christians and non-believers alike. For both Christians and non-believers there is a struggle to understand the nature of temptations and our successes and failures in resisting them. This subject is often a source of division between a person seeking or denying faith. A God who “allows” the temptation and then seemingly “judges” us according to our successful or failing behavior (a rudimentary and mistaken view of God) does not seem like a God that I would want to call my King either.
Today’s passage clarifies some of the misunderstandings of temptation and judgment. First, the passage states that we are all presented with equal experience in temptation. If we begin to think that some of us are tested more than others then we are defying today’s scripture. This might be hard for us understand because everyone’s context and experience looks different but, today’s subject is about our experience in temptation, not our context.
Whether it’s the needy wanting to steal, lustful eyes wandering or the anxious giving into worry – there is a struggle of resistance – a little angel and little devil on your shoulders – and it’s on this plane of experience that all of humanity finds commonality. We all have to say no to our desires or temptations when they conflict with righteous living or God’s word.
Thankfully, God is faithful.
In God’s faithfulness to us He does not allow temptation to be more than we can stand. This is good and bad news. Good – because it means that there is hope in effectively enduring our temptations. Bad – because this means that our failures are our own. It means that we could have endured our temptations but didn’t.
I cannot write about the innumerous ways that God is faithful to us in our struggles against our temptations but I can certainly point out a few. God has blessed us with a conscience, with personal wisdom – with His Word – and His Holy Spirit. Each on one of these helps us to identify, plan and avoid the temptations, the scenarios that we are susceptible to.
If the temptation that I consistently give in to is an abuse of alcohol or drunkenness, using a combination of personal wisdom, His word, and His Holy Spirit, I am poised to proactively avoid the cause of the temptation. Maybe the cause is the bar, maybe it’s a certain crowd, maybe it’s even being alone – either way what is unwise is to consciously put ourselves in those scenarios and to incorrectly interpret today’s passage by expecting God to keep us from our temptations.
“I don’t know why I gave in – I went to bar with every intention of drinking soda…”
A bigger mistake still is to blame God for the failure of enduring when the failure comes earlier by misjudging what we think we can endure.
God is faithful by blessing us with ways of avoiding temptation. Being human our methods include some trial and error. By understanding the trial and error we potentially find the source of God’s method. The temptations are allowed so to strengthen our resolve, our faith – our endurance. Each time we endure our temptations we are stronger for it.
What’s most beneficial to this process is being able to see when God shows you the way out. Pay attention.