1 Corinthians 10: 13
We’re in a series called “God’s Big Promises: God Says You Are, You Have, You Can, You Will.” So far we have looked at 2 of God’s Big Promises: You Are Forgiven: God’s Answer to the Problem of Guilt. You Are Never Alone: God’s Answer to the Problem of Fear.
Now we come to the 3rd promise: You Have a Way Out: God’s Answer to the Problem of Temptation.
Let’s begin with the fact - We were born with a sin nature that rebels against God (Ephesians 2: 1 - 3). Consider the “heroes” of the Bible. Abraham lied about his wife. Sarah lied to God. Lot compromised in Sodom. Jacob cheated his brother. Moses struck the rock in defiant anger. Elijah complained against God. David committed adultery and then had a man murdered to cover it up. Jonah ran away from God. Peter denied the Lord. These facts should not discourage us, but rather cause us to seriously consider our own spiritual condition. What happened to them may happen to us.
We struggle because temptation tends to come when we least expect it. If we could schedule our enticements, we’d do much better. “I’ve decided to fight against lust next Saturday at 4 PM.” Unfortunately, those wrong desires often show up unannounced at 9: 30AM on Wednesday when our guard is down.
It is precisely at this point that 1 Corinthians 10: 13 becomes so crucial. Every Christian should know this verse by heart: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.”
Note 3 truths from this verse -
1. Temptation is the common experience of all Christians. You will be tempted as long as you live. Temptation changes shape across the years, but it never goes away completely.
2. God will not allow you to be put in a situation where you must give in to sin. The pressure may be enormous, but he always provides a “way out” sooner or later.
3. God’s “way out” does not necessarily remove you from temptation, but it puts you in a position to endure it with grace. Sometimes we will be tempted over and over again. Each time God promises to give us what we need to resist successfully.
Let’s be clear about one thing. You never have to sin. God will never lead you to a place where your only choice is disobedience. We always have a choice. When we do wrong, we can’t say, “The devil made me do it.”
Remember what Paul said: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5: 8 NLT The devil is hungry, and you’re on the menu!
Satan’s #1 tool is discouragement. He's already won if he can get you to drop your weapons and walk off the battlefield. He’s not going to give you an even break. He is a liar, a deceiver, a diabolical “angel of light” who comes to you in a thousand guises, tempting you to disobey the Lord. He’s a lot smarter than you are. He knows your weak points better than you do. Because he is invisible, he can attack you any time of the day or night.
How will we fight back? Let’s consider 5 ways to fight against the devil and his schemes.
1. Adopt a Warfare Mentality
The Bible says we are to “put on the whole armour of God.” Ephesians 6: 11 Adopting a warfare mentality means we are always at war, that a battle is raging all around us, and that we ourselves are frontline soldiers. In the spiritual realm, we fight an invisible foe, and that’s why it’s easy to forget we are in a battle until the attack suddenly comes. Colossians 4: 2 instructs us to be “alert in prayer.” We’re all in this together as soldiers of Christ.
There is good news and bad news here. The bad news is, no one gets a break from the battle. We are under attack 24/7/365. Because Satan doesn’t sleep, we don’t have the luxury of going to sleep spiritually. The good news is, God has provided everything necessary so that we might fight and win every battle we face.
2. Confess Christ Openly
“If you’re going to be a Christian, be one!” You’ve got to make up your mind because a man who tries to have it both ways will end up destroyed. Compromise leads to destruction in the spiritual realm. Remember what Jesus said: “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.” Matthew 10: 32, 33
We all wonder how we would respond if our faith was put to the test. Would we have the courage of our convictions, or would we give in to save our life? For our brothers and sisters in China, India and the Middle East that question is not theoretical. We may face that in the West sooner than we think. Here’s the best way to be ready: Confess Christ every day right now!
The devil hates it when we sing because godly music rouses our souls, lifts our hearts and restores our faith. When God’s people sing together, we invade the devil’s territory.
In my pastoral ministry, on many occasions I went to church on Sunday morning feeling weak and tired. Perhaps it was because of a busy week, or perhaps I was carrying a particular burden. Sometimes my mind would race in a thousand different directions. Then the worship service would begin. As the congregation worshiped, my mind cleared, my doubts departed, my worries vanished, my faith swelled, and my heart was lifted to heaven. When the time came to preach, the Holy Spirit came in great power. This has happened so many times that I cannot believe it was by chance.
Ephesians 5: 19 tells us to “speak to one another” in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” As we do that, we are singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. Through our singing, we honor God and we strengthen those around us. Go ahead. Drive the devil nuts. He hates the music God loves. So sing out and make the devil mad.
4. Know the Word of God
Psalm 119: 11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Jesus prayed, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” John 17: 17 The Word of God not only tells us how to live; it also gives us the power to make the right choices.
5. March in Tight Formation
You will never defeat the devil on your own. That’s why the NT has so many “one another” commands: Love one another. Pray for one another. Serve one another.
Build up one another. Confess your sins to one another. Encourage one another.
The devil loves to attack Christians who get separated from their brothers and sisters. If he can get you alone, you’re a prime target for his attacks. Remember, if Satan can discourage you, he’s already won the battle. Don’t fight him alone. Stay tight with your brothers and sisters.
We need each other more than we know. If we are alone when temptation hits, it is easy to feel like giving up. But if we know others are cheering for us and are there to help us, we can find the strength to keep going even in the worst of times.
Two Final Thoughts
1. We are at war with an enemy far stronger than we are. He stops at nothing, he lies, he cheats, he deceives. If we defeat him today, he’ll be back tomorrow morning. In fact, he won’t wait until tomorrow. Satan comes to us in a thousand disguises, most of them hard to spot, all of them deadly to our soul. If we fight him in our own strength, we will lose. If we ignore him, he has already won the battle.
2. We have a Saviour who is far stronger than our enemy. He fought and won the battle 2000 years ago when he died on the cross and rose from the dead. He is the Undefeated Champion.
Satan is the Ultimate Loser. Jesus wins in the end, and he wins big! Everyone joined by faith with Jesus wins because he is the Captain of our Salvation. The forces of evil cannot stand against him.
So here is the Big Promise for today. When you feel like giving in to anger, lust, greed, or any of a thousand other sins, remember this: you have a way out. Take that way out and don’t look back.
Are you under attack from the enemy? Never give up!
Do you feel like quitting? Never give up!
Are you fighting for your marriage? Never give up!
Are you trying to be strong in the face of temptation? Never give up!
Are you discouraged about your children? Never give up!
Do you face a barrage of criticism for doing right? Never give up!
Are you tired of the struggle? Never give up.
Have you already fallen? Pick up your armour and get back in the battle.
When the day is done, you will be standing on the victory side.
Stand and fight, child of God.
The Lord is on your side.