Tuesday, 7 October 2014
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
In the preceding verse, Paul gave those at Corinth a warning when he said, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” Now he gives them a note of up-building and encouragement. The temptations that they faced in seeking divisions or facing decisions concerning eating or not eating certain foods, etc, are regular temptations that “are common to man.” In other words, they are a part of the human experience, just like the temptations of those in the wilderness. There was nothing supernatural about their temptations and they could have resisted rebelling, but instead, they lacked faith in God’s provision and fell into weakness.
Those at Corinth were following this same human pattern, but they had the power to prevail if they so chose. They had the truth of the gospel and they possessed the knowledge that “God is faithful.” From those Old Testament passages, they saw that God never abandoned His people, even if they may have thought that He did. The Corinthians had the surer foundation, which is the word of God, to look into and see this.
As a further encouragement, Paul instructs them with the happy thought that God “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.” God is not in the business of “causing” His people to fall. Rather, He has placed us in the stream of humanity and our experiences are those which humans can and should expect. In those experiences, temptations are a natural part of what occur. This was seen in the Garden of Eden, this was seen at the time of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, and it was seen when David saw the beautiful Bathsheba and desired her.
These and other examples show us that some failed and some prevailed. When Joshua and Caleb set out with the other spies to investigate the land of Canaan, they held fast to their faith in the Lord while the other ten weakened. It was a common human experience and each had the ability to stand fast in their convictions or to waffle in them.
As a continuation of his encouraging words, Paul then tells those in Corinth (and thus us) that with whatever temptation we face God “will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” As noted above, God is not in the business of trapping us in our weakness. Because we are humans and share what is common to humanity, then the weaknesses we face are merely human experiences and thus can be overcome, even from a human perspective. With the surer word of God and the sealing of the Holy Spirit, how much stronger should we be in the face of these things? There is never a scenario that we will face where defeat is inevitable. Rather, when we are pulled away by our own lusts, we voluntarily give way to sin.
This is why it is so important to follow the three avenues of spiritual strengthening that we have available at all times – 1) Praying to God. We can simply talk to Him about our needs continuously. Every moment can be a moment of prayer if it is a conversation with Him. 2) Knowing the Bible. If we read and apply the Bible to our lives, we will have that sure foundation on which we can stand when temptations arise. We can draw from the well and be reinvigorated with the lessons it has taught us. 3) Fellowshipping with other believers. In our weaknesses, we can be strengthened and encouraged through communion with others. They can provide us the “pat on the back” that we need and they can often give us additional perspectives into the word of God that we may have missed.
Life application: Pray without ceasing, read and meditate upon God’s word, and fellowship with other believers. In doing these three things, you will be strengthened and built up in your faith and in your walk with God.
Heavenly Father, I love that Your word tells me that You are faithful and that You will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I am able. Your word goes on to say that with any temptation You will make the way of escape for me. I thank You that through this promise I will be able to bear up under any test or trial that comes my way. I know that You are not in the business of causing us to fail, but instead You allow temptations to come our way in order to teach us and to strengthen us in our walk. Thank You for Your kind hand upon me and thank You for Your word which instructs and encourages me! Amen.