MANAGING TEMPTATION – JESUS’ ASSURANCES

MANAGING TEMPTATION – JESUS’ ASSURANCES

In our last message, we saw that when it comes to temptation, it is pointless for us to say that we will avoid them, because temptation is not something that we go to. Instead, temptation comes to us, crouches and lies in wait for the moment when we least expect it and our guard is down, and then it pounces.

So the only way that we can effectively stave off temptation is to be habitually conscious that because the Holy Spirit is always with us, in us and walking by us; we have help and we don’t have to stave off temptation alone.

Now, while that should already give us comfort, Jesus, through Paul, does give us even more assurances to aid us in the battle against temptation. So while we are on this side of the battle, let us see what Jesus is doing on their other side to help us out.

“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

There are essentially three parts to this promise,

“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.”

Firstly, we need to realize that whatever it is that we are going through; we are not the first, we are not the last, and we are surely not the only ones. In fact, Paul says,

“…no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear].” 1 Corinthians 10:13 [AMPC]

Caught that last bit? Yes, not only is it common to man, not only is it within human resistance, it has been adjusted and adapted and belongs to human experience.

The implication of this is very simple, isn’t? If the other average Joes can do it, if they can stave off temptation, so can you. Your situation is not unique. You are not being victimized.

Now, this is important, because let’s face it, when we are going through a trial, we start to develop tunnel vision, and we think that we are the only ones going through our situation. But if we lift our heads up for a moment, we will realize that hey, we are not the only ones, there are others just like us. And if God was faithful to them and delivered them, we can be sure that He will deliver us too.

And when we start to think like that, we are not being delusional. In fact, we are facing facts, because

“God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure” 1 Corinthians 10:13 [AMPC]

You know, often, with the thought of ‘God is doing this only to me’, comes the lie of ‘God hates me’ and ‘God is a big fat liar’; or even ‘God has lost the plot and taken His eyes off the ball and doesn’t realize that I am close to breaking point’. It’s true, isn’t it? Introspection does generate such lies.

But The Spirit wants to set things right today. God is not a big fat liar, God is faithful. God has not lost the plot, God knows just how much you can take, and He will not let you “be tempted beyond your ability [to resist]” (1 Corinthians 10:13 [AMP])

Not only that,

“…but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].” 1 Corinthians 10:13 [AMP]

There will always be a way out. You just need to hang on until that door, that “(means of escape to a landing place)” is made apparent to you, so that “that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently”. (1 Corinthians 10:13 [AMPC])

But how do we know? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? How can we be sure? Well, we know because of this.

“…if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.” Galatians 5:18 [AMPC]

Think about it. The only reason why God would want to tempt you so badly that you fall, is if He doesn’t like you and want to catch you out. But if you have been guided and led by the Spirit, if you have been habitually aware of His presence and have been constantly seeking His guidance, even if you slip,

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

For you are not subject to the Law. You are not living under ‘do good, get good; do bad, get bad’. So sin is of no effect to you because Jesus already bore all the sin you could ever commit when He went to the cross. So if God is trying to catch you out by tempting you into sin, that’s not going to work.

So what when? The only conclusion we can draw from this reality is that God is always for us. Temptation or not, God is for us. Slip or not, God is for us. Perfect or not, God is for us. Because of what Jesus has done for us, God is for us.

Now, then,

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

So, been tempted have you? Driven into a corner? Did some things and said some things you are not proud of as a result? Hey, relax. As long as you are conscious that the Spirit is there, abiding with you always; as long as you are going to Him to ask for His guidance and leading; you are not subject to the Law. Sin is of no consequence to you. So stop beating yourself up over it.

Now, the elephant in the room then. If God is for me, if God loves me, why did He allow it? Well,

“Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.” 1 Peter 1:7 [MSG]

God is showing off in your life, and God is making you look good. While I don’t profess to understand His methods, I am reminded that He said,

““For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”” Isaiah 55:8-9

So you are suffering for a moment. What of it? You still have the Spirit with you to guide you; and our Father has also promised that you will not be tempted beyond your ability to resist. And as you go through your trail and temptation, He will give you a way out, right there in the valley of your trouble.

Once you have passed through to the other side, you will realize that all you had to go through was

“So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:7 [AMP]

Indeed beloved, in your trials and temptations, take heart, for our Father has promised

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;” Isaiah 43:1-3

So let Him show off in your life. He will never short-change you.

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