Scripture Readings Joshua 21-22, Psalm 47, 1 Corinthians 10
Verse of the Day 1 Corinthians 10:13
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 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.
Paul is writing to a young church in a pagan culture. He is trying to teach them how to be in the world, but not of the world. He is pointing to the freedom they have in Christ, but teaching them not to use their freedom to indulge the sinful nature, or cause another believed to stumble. He cites the example of the Israelites who made golden calves and practiced sexual immorality and were judged by God in the wilderness.
In fighting temptation he gives them a prescription for how they can overcome it. He gives them these principles:
1. We are most vulnerable to temptation when we think we are above it.
2. All temptation is common to man, no one is immune to it.
3. God will never give you a temptation which we can't resist with faith in Him
4 There is always a way out of temptation, an alternate path we can choose to follow.
If we use these promises we can overcome temptation. It really works. We see Jesus using this pattern when he overcomes temptation in the wilderness.
Most of the time when we fall to temptation, which is different for everyone, we walk right into it. We don't even consider the options. Merely thinking there is another way, at least slows the process. Someone said, "Why do we give into temptation?" Because we want to! Of course this is not always the case but sometimes it is.
When we are undergoing temptation the evil one is telling us that it makes no difference what we do. After all we have a right to do what we want. It is like the serpent when he said to Adam and Eve, "Did God really say you cannot eat of that tree. Surely you will not die." Satan was trying to twist God's words, and Adam and Eve took a bite of the lie.
One thing that is helpful when dealing with temptation is to have a scripture memorized like the one above. I have found when we say scripture in our mind it helps. Why? Because it is truth and helps us distinguish truth from lies. Second as we share our temptations with others, this helps us stay accountable. Since we all have temptations there is no need to be ashamed of your temptations. Finally, we can pray for God to change our hearts, so that we will not want to do something we know is wrong. Where we see sin for what is, and why Jesus had to die for it.
Good Friday is a good day to think about what Jesus did for us. When we see the depth of his love for us and what he did for us on the cross, it can change our hearts. Before we jump into sin we can remember that Jesus died for it.