The Great Escape
“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.” (I Corinthians 10:13)
There is probably no greater question that man asks of God, when dealing with difficulty, than, “Why am I going through this, Lord?” Because of poor choices, which are either made by us or by others, we often find ourselves in some sort of difficulty. And, to tell you the truth, sometimes they just happen and there seems to be no apparent reason. In casual preacher speech, this is often phrased as “finding ourselves on the horns of a dilemma.”
Trials are for our own good. The Scripture reeks with verses that point us to the higher good of the pressures of daily living. Things happen that are unexpected, and at the time they are happening, we often wonder why. And, more than that, we wonder how we will get through them and how long it will take. And, obviously, we wonder why.
If that were not enough, there are then the temptations of life. James said it this way. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:13-14) The Evil One is out to destroy our faith. He cannot stand any one of us living under heaven with even a single shred of faith. Our faith hurts Him and His cause. So, it is not God who places before us the temptations of life. It is the Evil One.
Note carefully that the verse clearly marks out the fault. It is not the fault of God that we yield to the temptations of the tempter. It is not even the fault of the tempter himself. The fault rest solely on our own shoulders. It is our fault… and we exercise it often. God understands our weakness and our yielding is no surprise to Him. Though He, Himself does not tempt us, He does allow it to happen. He doesn’t do it out of meanness or hatefulness, but out of love and purpose. God knows that every time we reject Satan and His scams, the cause of GOOD flourishes. It appears in the first chapter of the Book of Job that God actually called Satan’s attention to Job. Satan was going throughout the earth seeking someone to destroy and God asked Him, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Was He saying, “Take a shot at him. He will not budge?” You have read the story. Job struggled, and sometimes struggled really hard. But, he never gave up. He got close a few times… but he did not give up. His faith held and Satan was made to look like a complete fool. Job had a way out. He held on to his faith in the middle of his trials.
Our weakness to yield is much like a fish looking at a worm on a hook. Temptation is what fishing is all about. The better the temptation, the more fish you are likely to catch. Many people have perfected the art of temptation in the water. They know just how to bait the hook or move the lure in the water. They know what the fish like and are good at providing it. That is what makes the difference between a full ice chest and a not so full one. The fish has a weakness for food. Make that a lust. He or she, as it may be, are drawn away by their own lust and enticed. In this picture, there is not sin yet. But, when they bite, the hook bites through the lip and they are caught. In our weakness, our lust for whatever it may be, draws us near the temptation and heightens our desires which, in turn, entices us to go ahead and bite. At this point, just before the bite, God opens a door. There is always a way of escape. Say No! Don’t do it? What would Jesus do? Who will it affect? How will I deal with this tomorrow? But, I guess the greatest door of escape is the fact that God lives in us. Since that is true, we are not just indulging ourselves. We drag Him right into it. So, a good question to find the door of escape might be to ask, “God, would you like to partake in this?”
There will never be a time when faced with a temptation, a testing, that God will not provide an escape. But, if we are blinded by our own lust and the desires of our own heart, we will not see it. This would be the time to ask God for His heart in the matter. He will answer. He will not be silent. And if we have ears to hear, we will hear and heed. We are never alone in anything. He is always with us.
You and I are light in a dark world and Satan cannot, will not, rest until He destroys our faith. If He can get us involved in something of the darkness, He knows that many will give up out of shame and lack of self worth. Faith will dwindle and the light will grow dim. Satan is not interested in you or me, He is only interested in putting out the light. The light will destroy Him and He knows that.
So, whenever we are tempted, we know that there is a promise of escape. God made the promise and He always fulfills it. Look for it. Listen for it. Do not sleep or slumber. Keep watch. He is there. And then listen to the words of James when he speaks, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)