A Way Out

Reflect:
I Corinthians 10:13

“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.”

Did you catch that? Your battle with temptation is winnable. The last part of the verse says so: “When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out.”

That’s good news. There’s always an escape route—always—when you are being enticed to break God’s law. And not only is there a way out when you are tempted, but it is God himself who will provide that way of escape; he will make a way. God has provided the door, but here’s the deal: You and I must look for it; we must walk through it!

Are those escape routes mysterious, accessible only to the spiritually elite, hard to grasp and even harder to enter? Not at all—they are very clear, quite simple, and easy to access.

One way of escape is to immerse yourself in Scripture. Psalm 119:9 & 11 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

That’s how Jesus battled temptation in the wilderness. Every time the tempter came at him with something that would tear him away from his Father, Jesus came back at Satan with the truth of Scripture. There is no more potent weapon against temptation in your life than in reading systematically, meditating daily, and memorizing strategically God’s Word.

Another escape route from temptation is to become accountable to another believer, especially for your particular weakness. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We need to bring our temptation into the light of accountability to other people—as difficult as that may be.

Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” You would do yourself a huge favor by finding someone with whom you can be accountable for your weakness.

And yet another way out is to ask God to deliver you daily from the tempter. Jesus taught us to pray a daily prayer that acknowledges both our weakness and our need for divine power in this area: “Deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)

As simple as that sounds, the amazing thing is, God hears those prayers. And he always provides a way out.

“Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no need that we should let them nest in our hair.” ~Martin Luther

Reflect & Apply: As you are meditating on I Corinthians 10:1-13, look more closely at the ways we have identified as God’s way out for you. Can you connect them in specific ways to the common temptations you are facing? Can you identify some other “ways out” the Bible teaches that God has given you in every temptation? Today, look for those divine exits—and take them.

 

Cautionary Tales: Take A Good, Long Look!

5×5×5 Bible Plan

Read: I Corinthians 10
Meditation:
I Corinthians 10:13

“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.”

Shift Your Focus… One of those “ways out” from temptation that Paul talks about is for us to take a good, long look at the plethora of Old Testament saints who crashed and burned at some point in their spiritual journey.  In the previous verses, Paul writes,

“These things happened to [these Old Testament saints] as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”  (I Corinthians 10:11-12)

In other words, all you have to do is slow down and do a little Old Testament “rubbernecking” and it will make you think twice about making their mistakes.  You know what “rubbernecking” is?  It’s when you slow your car down and gawk at an accident along the side of the road.  And if you have children in the car, you warn them: “Kids, that’s what happens when you don’t pay attention when you are driving!”  My dad did that to me on occasion, and I’ve repeated the tradition with my children.

One of the greatest defenses against temptation of any kind if to slow way down, take a good, long look, and make the connect between what they did and what you’re about to do.  That little cost-benefit analysis will likely lead you to say, “whoa, I don’t want what happened to David to happen to me.”

Take a leisurely afternoon drive through Old Testament country and look at the wrecks along the path of some of our faith-heroes.  Take one look at what happened to Abraham in Genesis 16.  Abraham got ahead of God’s timing with having a son, and Ishmael was the result. If you are wondering why that should be a warning sign, I’ve got three words for you:  Arab-Israeli Conflict.”  That’s what happens when you don’t trust God.

Take one look at Moses in Numbers 20:10-12.  Moses decided to go a little beyond what God had commanded, and he struck the rock twice when God had told him only to command water to come forth from it.  Because Moses tried to help God out, his disobedience caused him to forfeit entrance into the land of promise.  Let that be a lesson to you:  Even small sins can have huge consequences.

Take one look at David in I Samuel 11.  A midlife crisis in a season of boredom with the unwieldy use of power led to an adulterous affair.  The affair led to a cover up which led to conspiracy which led to the deaths of some innocent people which led to a family in deep and abiding turmoil for years to come.  That’s what happens when you choose a few minutes of fleshly pleasure over self-control.

Take one look at these good people who made bad decisions, and consider the outcome of their actions.  Take one look and then hear Paul’s words loud and clear: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (I Corinthians 10:12)

What temptations are you facing?  Just remember, others stronger and closer to God than you faced those same temptations.  They ignored the warning signs and they failed.  And if they could, they would shout, “Don’t you do it!  Just look what happened to me!”

In truth, they are shouting to you.  Their examples are written down in God’s Word for your benefit.  So take a good, long look.  Do a little rubbernecking.

That is your way out!

“Temptation usually comes in through a door that has deliberately been left open.”  ~Arnold Glasow

Prayer… Father, when I am tempted to sin, bring the faces of Abraham, Moses, David and other Bible saints clearly into my mind and remind me from their examples of what happens when we choose not to follow you.

The Great Escape

5×5×5 Bible Plan

Read: Romans 7
Meditation:
Romans 7:15,19,24

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do… For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice… O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Shift Your Focus… Paul had a convoluted way of saying something pretty straightforward, which was simply this: “I do what I shouldn’t and I don’t do what I should—man, am I in trouble!”

Can you relate to Paul? I sure can. He was in a wrestling match with sin, and sin was whupping up on him. It was frustrating because Paul knew what he shouldn’t be doing—yet he was drawn to sin like a mouse to a cheese-laden trap.

Let me ask you this: Where are you most vulnerable to temptation? What represents your cheese-laden mousetrap? Maybe it’s a whole box of Girl Scout cookies—perhaps you are an overeater. Maybe it’s the letters S*A*L*E—perhaps you’re an overspender. Maybe it’s an adult site on the Internet—perhaps you’ve got a compulsion for porn. Could it be your compulsion is alchohol or drugs or gambling or gossiping or griping? Maybe it’s the joy of passing judgment on other cheese-eaters, which in reality, reveals your battle with a critical spirit.

Each of us has an area where we do what we shouldn’t and don’t do what we should. “What a sicko I am! Who will rescue me from the cheese?”

Jesus will! That’s what Paul said in Romans 7:25, “Thanks be to God—it’s through Jesus Christ our Lord!” When Jesus died, he broke the power of sin, so it no longer has a hold on us. Through the power of the resurrection, Paul says in I Corinthians 10:13 that God has provided a way out from under every temptation:

“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.”

Did you catch that? Your battle with temptation is winnable. The last part of the verse says, “But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out.”

That’s good news. There’s always an escape route—always. When you’re tempted, God himself will provide a way out; he will make a way. God has provided a door—but I must look for it and walk through it!

What are those escape routes?

One way of escape is to immerse yourself in Scripture. Psalm 119:9 & 11 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

That’s how Jesus battled temptation in the wilderness. Every time the tempter came at him with something that would tear him away from his Father, Jesus came back at Satan with the truth of scripture. There is no more potent weapon against temptation in your life than in reading systematically, meditating daily, and memorizing strategically God’s Word.

Another escape route from temptation is to become accountable to another believer, especially for your particular weakness. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We need to bring our temptation into the light of accountability to other people—as difficult as that may be.

Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” You would do yourself a huge favor by finding someone with whom you can be accountable for your weakness.

And yet another way out is to ask God to deliver you daily from the tempter. Jesus taught us to pray a daily prayer that acknowledges both our weakness and our need for divine power in this area: “Deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13) As simple as that sounds, the amazing thing is, God hears those prayers. And he provides a way out.

Who will rescue you from this body of death? Who is going to keep you out of the cheese?

“Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me.” (Romans 7:25)

“Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no need that we should let them nest in our hair.” ~Martin Luther 

Prayer…  Father you are as close as the very oxygen I breathe. I praise your name.  May your will be done completely in my life today—which includes keeping me pure and sin-free.  Today I ask that you will deliver me from the evil that the Evil One will tempt me with.  I ask this so that I might bring glory and honor and praise to your holy name.

A Way Out

Project 52—Memorize:
I Corinthians 10:13

“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.”

Did you catch that? Your battle with temptation is winnable. The last part of the verse says so: “When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out.”

That’s good news. There’s always an escape route—always—when you are being enticed to break God’s law. And not only is there a way out when you are tempted, but it is God himself who will provide that way of escape; he will make a way. God has provided the door, but here’s the deal: You and I must look for it; we must walk through it!

Are those escape routes mysterious, accessible only to the spiritually elite, hard to grasp and even harder to enter?  Not at all—they are very clear, quite simple, and easy to access.

One way of escape is to immerse yourself in Scripture. Psalm 119:9 & 11 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

That’s how Jesus battled temptation in the wilderness. Every time the tempter came at him with something that would tear him away from his Father, Jesus came back at Satan with the truth of Scripture. There is no more potent weapon against temptation in your life than in reading systematically, meditating daily, and memorizing strategically God’s Word.

Another escape route from temptation is to become accountable to another believer, especially for your particular weakness. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We need to bring our temptation into the light of accountability to other people—as difficult as that may be.

Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” You would do yourself a huge favor by finding someone with whom you can be accountable for your weakness.

And yet another way out is to ask God to deliver you daily from the tempter. Jesus taught us to pray a daily prayer that acknowledges both our weakness and our need for divine power in this area: “Deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)

As simple as that sounds, the amazing thing is, God hears those prayers. And he always provides a way out.

“Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no need that we should let them nest in our hair.”  ~Martin Luther

Reflect & Apply: As you are meditating on I Corinthians 10:1-13, look more closely at the ways we have identified as God’s way out for you.  Can you connect them in specific ways to the common temptations you are facing? Can you identify some other “ways out” the Bible teaches that God has given you in every temptation?  Today, look for those divine exits—and take them.

 

Temptation: Our Masters of Divinity

Read: Matthew 4

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God…’” (Matthew 4:1-3)

“Masters in Divinity”—that’s what Martin Luther called his temptations. No believer enjoys facing them, but within each temptation resides the very real potential of a faith-strengthening, character-refining, sin-crushing victory.  Truly temptation is, or should be, the Christian’s Masters of Divinity.

Even Jesus faced temptation.  It’s interesting, profound, really, when you think about it, that Satan knew who Jesus was—God the Son—yet tempted him anyway.  Satan once resided as Lucifer, one of the chief angels, in the presence of the Holy Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. So when Jesus became God the incarnate Son, Satan, knowing perfectly well of his divine nature, unleashed a torrent of enticements anyway that were designed to derail God’s plan of salvation by knocking Jesus irremediably off course. Now, to be certain, if the very Son of God had to endure an onslaught of Satanic temptation, you and I will too.

It is also of interest that Satan didn’t tempt Jesus with obvious evil. Three times he attempted to entice Jesus to sin with subtle, sane, and spiritual sounding goodies. That’s because the devil is the master of subtlety. He didn’t come to Jesus dressed in a red suit and pointed tail, pitchfork in hand, luring him to commit murder or to steal a bag full of money.  These temptations were to gain what seemed good by sacrificing what was best. Likewise, when Satan tempts you, the bait he sets in front of you will be subtle, sane, and seemingly spiritual.

Subtle: Expect the temptations you face today to be quite subtle.  Satan’s stock-in-trade is deception, which is what makes temptation so effective.  Jesus called him “the father of lies”, and he has gotten pretty good at it over the millennia.  That’s why the bible calls us to constant alertness.  So watch and be on guard for enticements that will be just slightly off center from God’s will.

Sane: When Satan tempted Jesus, the Lord had just come off a forty day fast.  He was at the limit of what the human body could endure. He was hungry, he was physically weak and emotionally depleted.  Satan was simply suggesting that Jesus ought to use his God-prerogatives to satisfy a legitimate physical necessity—and he was dangling Scripture in front of him as justification.  Your temptations today will likely be quite easy to justify, which is exactly why they are so dangerous.  Be careful, be prayerful, and be armed with God’s Word on the matter.

Seemingly Spiritual: Jesus was called to be the Messiah of the Jews, and what better way to jumpstart his ministry than by hang-gliding from the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem—without the hang-glider!  What a great way to show off his God-powers and impress the people he was called to lead. Ultimately, Jesus was called to be the Lord and Savior of the world.  Why not fast-track that plan by allowing Satan to hand deliver all the nations of the world to him in an instant?  No fuss, no muss!  The problem was, however, that each of these temptations would have meant depending on himself to get his needs met rather than trusting in God’s provision, timing and plan.  That is perhaps the most foundational and most common temptation of all—to trust in anything or anyone other than God to get your needs and wants met.

You will be hit with temptation in the same way today—just count on it!  It will be subtle, it will seem sane, and probably, it will sound incredibly spiritual.  So be on guard—sin is crouching at your door.  But it is not inevitable that you will succumb to it.  Jesus didn’t—which means that you don’t have to either.  Jesus knew the Word and will of God better than Satan, and so do you.  That’s one of the blessings of reading and praying through the Gospels this year, as you are doing.

Likewise, since Jesus overcame his battle with temptation, he stands at the ready to help you in your battle.  Just ask him for his help—he is more than willing to come alongside you.  Hebrews 2:17-18 reminds us,

“For this reason Jesus had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

So when temptation comes knocking at your door today, just send Jesus to answer it.

“Every temptation is an opportunity of our getting nearer to God.” ~John Quincy Adams

What If God Took Over?

Memorize I Corinthians 10:13 … absorb it into your spirit … and most importantly, rely on it when temptation comes your way:

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

Spiritual Rubbernecking

Read I Corinthians 10

“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.”
(I Corinthians 10:13)

Food For Thought… One of those “ways out” from temptation that Paul talks about is for us to take a good, long look at the plethora of Old Testament saints who crashed and burned at some point in their spiritual journey. In the previous verses, Paul writes,

“These things happened to [these Old Testament saints] as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (I Corinthians 10:11-12)

In other words, all you have to do is slow down and do a little Old Testament “rubbernecking” and it will make you think twice about making their mistakes. You know what “rubbernecking” is? It’s when you slow your car down and gawk at an accident along the side of the road. And if you have children in the car, you warn them: “Kids, that’s what happens when you don’t pay attention when you are driving!” My dad did that to me on occasion, and I’ve repeated the tradition with my children.

One of the greatest defenses against temptation of any kind if to slow way down, take a good, long look, and make the connection between what they did and what you’re about to do. That little cost-benefit analysis will likely lead you to say, “whoa, I don’t want what happened to David to happen to me.”

Take a leisurely afternoon drive through Old Testament country and look at the wrecks along the path of some of our faith-heroes. Take one look at what happened to Abraham in Genesis 16. Abraham got ahead of God’s timing with having a son, and Ishmael was the result. If you are wondering why that should be a warning sign, I’ve got three words for you: Arab-Israeli Conflict.” That’s what happens when you don’t trust God.

Take one look at Moses in Numbers 20:1-13. Moses decided to go a little beyond what God had commanded, and he struck the rock twice when God had told him only to command water to come forth from it. Because Moses tried to help God out, his disobedience caused him to forfeit entrance into the land of promise. Let that be a lesson to you: Even small sins can have huge consequences.

Take one look at David in I Samuel 11. A midlife crisis in a season of boredom along with an unwieldy use of power led to an adulterous affair. The affair led to a cover up which led to conspiracy which led to the deaths of some innocent people which led to a family in deep and abiding turmoil for years to come. That’s what happens when you choose a few minutes of fleshly pleasure over self-control.

Take one look at these good people who made bad decisions, and consider the outcome of their actions. Take one look and then hear Paul’s words loud and clear: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (I Corinthians 10:12)

What temptations are you facing? Just remember, others stronger and closer to God than you faced those same temptations. They ignored the warning signs and they failed. And if they could, they would shout, “Don’t you do it! Just look what happened to me!”

In truth, they are shouting to you. Their examples are written down in God’s Word for your benefit. So take a good, long look. Do a little rubbernecking.

That is your way out!

Prayer… Father, when I am tempted to sin, bring the faces of Abraham, Moses, David and other Bible saints clearly into my mind and remind me from their examples of what happens when we choose not to follow you.

One More Thing… “Temptation usually comes in through a door that has deliberately been left open.” —Arnold Glasow

Don’t Tempt Me

Read Romans 7

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do,
that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do… For the good
that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do,
that I practice… O wretched man that I am! Who
will deliver me from this body of death?”
(Romans 7:15, 18-20, 24)

Food For Thought… Huh? Did you catch that? Paul had a convoluted way of saying something pretty straightforward, which was simply this: “I do what I shouldn’t and I don’t do what I should—man, am I in trouble!”

Can you relate to Paul? I sure can. He was in a wrestling match with sin, and sin was whupping up on him. It was frustrating because Paul knew what he shouldn’t be doing—yet he was drawn to sin like a mouse to a cheese-laden trap.

Let me ask you this: Where are you most vulnerable to temptation? What represents your cheese-laden mousetrap? Maybe it’s a box of Krispy Kremes—perhaps you are an overeater. Maybe it’s the letters S*A*L*E—perhaps you’re an overspender. Maybe it’s an adult site on the Internet—perhaps you’ve got a compulsion for porn. Could it be your compulsion is alchohol or drugs or gambling or gossiping or griping? Maybe it’s the joy of passing judgment on other cheese-eaters, which in reality, reveals your battle with a critical spirit.

Each of us has an area where we do what we shouldn’t and don’t do what we should. “What a sicko I am! Who will rescue me from the cheese?”

Jesus will! That’s what Paul said in Romans 7:25, “Thanks be to God—it’s through Jesus Christ our Lord!” When Jesus died, he broke the power of sin, so it no longer has a hold on us. Through the power of the resurrection, Paul says in I Corinthians 10:13 that God has provided a way out from under every temptation:

“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.”

Did you catch that? Your battle with temptation is winnable. The last part of the verse says, “But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out.”

That’s good news. There’s always an escape route—always. When you’re tempted, God himself will provide a way out; he will make a way. God has provided a door—but I must look for it and walk through it!

What are those escape routes?

One way of escape is to immerse yourself in Scripture. Psalm 119:9 & 11 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

That’s how Jesus battled temptation in the wilderness. Every time the tempter came at him with something that would tear him away from his Father, Jesus came back at Satan with the truth of scripture. There is no more potent weapon against temptation in your life than in reading systematically, meditating daily, and memorizing strategically God’s Word.

Another escape route from temptation is to become accountable to another believer, especially for your particular weakness. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We need to bring our temptation into the light of accountability to other people—as difficult as that may be.

Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” You would do yourself a huge favor by finding someone with whom you can be accountable for your weakness.

And yet another way out is to ask God to deliver you daily from the tempter. Jesus taught us to pray a daily prayer that acknowledges both our weakness and our need for divine power in this area: “Deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13) As simple as that sounds, the amazing thing is, God hears those prayers. And he provides a way out.

Who will rescue you from this body of death? Who is going to keep you out of the cheese?

“Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me.”
(Romans 7:25)

Prayer… Father you are as close as the very oxygen I breathe. I praise your name. May your will be done completely in my life today—which includes keeping me pure and sin-free. Today I ask that you will deliver me from the evil that the Evil One will tempt me with. I ask this so that I might bring glory and honor and praise to your holy name.

One more thing… “Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no need that we should let them nest in our hair.” —Martin Luther