THE WAY OF ESCAPE
Temptation is an inevitable fact of life. There are no shortage of temptations that we face. The world, the flesh and the devil all seem to conspire against us. How can we gain the victory?
Oscar Wilde quipped, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” A few moments of serious reflection however, enables us to realize the deleterious consequences of yielding to our temptation. Experience teaches us that we do not always prevail and at times, we inevitably succumb to temptation.
The Apostle Paul addressed this topic in his letter to the Corinthians. As he recounted the Israelites checkered history in attempting to follow God, he pointed out the problem of pride:
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
Experience teaches us that human strength is insufficient to overcome the spiritual battles that we face. Paul gives the reader hope and confidence in the next verse:
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 )
The Greek word for temptation also denotes a test or a trial. In a sense, every trial may be considered a temptation since it presents an opportunity to pass or fail the test. A trial may be an opportunity that strengthens us (James 1:2-4), or it may be used by Satan as a temptation to sin. Temptation is not sin, although it may lead to sin.
Paul acknowledged God’s sovereignty in our lives. God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able – He knows what you can handle. The way you are able to endure the temptation is by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16). Our problem is we don’t realize our spiritual resources. Have you ever wondered why Jesus has such high expectations for His followers? It is because He placed the very Spirit of God within us – we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37)! Are you relying upon your strength or upon God?
Paul gives us hope that regardless of the temptations we may face, God has provided the way of escape. The definite article emphasizes that there is a specific way of escape. When we know that God has provided the way of escape, it enables to endure the temptation.
The word endure literally means to bear up under a load. Could it be that our problem is that we give up too easily? God has provided the means for victory. Temptation is a crisis of faith – do you believe that God has provided the way of escape? May you be diligent to look for the way of escape and press on to victory.