1 Corinthians 10:12-13
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 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.”
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then
when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
Temptation is real and it’s a part of our life here on earth…Scripture tell us that we will be tempted throughout our life here on earth. It’s Satan’s invitation to live his kind of life…a life of wickedness…and to give up on God’s way of life…a life of peace and joy.
Let’s look at four basics facts about temptation:
1. Everyone struggles with temptation…Nobody is above it.
No one is immune to the problem for the struggle with temptation is nothing new. Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, all mankind has followed in their footsteps and has faced temptation. The important thing to remember is that there’s nothing wrong with us when we are tempted. It’s all part of being human. Jesus, Himself dealt with being tempted, but because He was God in the flesh, He remained sinless. So the sin is not in being tempted, but only when we yield to the temptation and act on our evil thoughts and selfish desires.
2. Temptations come in all shapes and sizes.
Sometimes we tend to think temptations are limited to specific sins, but that’s not true. We face temptations that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Jealousy…Envy...Hate…Lust…and so many more.
Satan knows each of our weaknesses and is going to attack those weaknesses. He’s going to hit us where it hurts the most. No matter how small, all temptation leads to sin.
3. The source of all temptation comes from Satan.
This is very important for us to know, because if we are to win the battle with temptation we have to understand what…or who we’re up against. In Ephesians 6:12 we read “...our struggle is not just against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world—the spiritual forces of evil.” There is an evil force at work in this world and its leader is a fallen angel named Satan who seeks to destroy our lives. Jesus calls
Satan a thief who comes only to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to steal the joy that God intends for us to have, he wants to kill our faith and spirit of hope, and he strives to destroy our Christian witness. Satan is a master at his job. He makes sin look so pleasing to the eye, just as he did the fruit in the Garden of Eden. He makes sin look so irresistible. Satan is the source of all temptation.
4. When we yield to temptation it’s our own fault.
We must realize that when we give in to temptation and choose to sin, we can’t blame anyone but ourselves. Sin takes place when we, by our own free will, fall to temptation. We do have a choice. We can blame
Satan for the temptations he places before us, but we can only blame ourselves for our sin. Satan is a powerful enemy; but he’s a defeated one if we stay strong in our faith. God knows our limits and He promises that He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. So we know Satan is alive and wants nothing more than for us to turn away from God and give in to the evil desires of the flesh. He places temptations in front of us each day. It’s up to us to make the right choice.
So now the question for is, “How do we fight Temptation?”
Years ago many ships were lost at sea in accidents caused by overloading. After decades of losses, a man in England by the name of Samuel Plimsoll came up with the idea that a line should be painted on the side of merchant vessels to tell if the ships were overloaded. This line later became known as the Plimsoll Mark. It soon became illegal for any ship to be loaded more heavily than permitted by the Plimsoll mark on its side. God knows our Plimsoll Mark, and He will not allow Satan to overload us with more temptation than we can carry. Listen again to what Paul wrote in verse 13. When we are tempted, God will provide us a way out…or in other words, God will make a way for us to escape temptation.
I use the word escape because the letters from the word escape can be used as an acronym to help us remember six things that will help us win the battle against temptation. E – S – C – A – P – E
>“E” Stands for ENVIRONMENT.
One way to prevent struggles with temptation is to stay away from environments where we know we will be tempted. We must never put ourselves in a position to be tempted. It’s foolish to go places where we know Satan is waiting; ready and willing to tempt us. He waits in forbidden places— the places God tells us to avoid. Proverbs 4:14 says, “Do not set your foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.” We must keep out of those environments. If not, we’re playing right into the Satan’s hands and making his job easy.
>“S” stands for SCRIPTURE.
When Jesus faced temptation, His primary weapon was Scripture. His response to Satan’s temptations began with the words, “It is written...” God’s word is our weapon to be used in our own battles with temptation. Paul assures us that the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. He also tells us to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The more Scripture we know, the more power we’ll have over temptation. The following question was once asked: "Which man would be stronger in an individual's life; The physical man, who is wrapped up in the world and all its temptations, or the spiritual man who is concerned about following Jesus?" The answer is simple…It’s the one you feed the most." It’s no wonder we have such a hard time fighting temptation when we feed our physical man with the ideals of the world. In order for us to become stronger in our fight against temptation, we must feed our spiritual man with the word of God. We must be able to say with confidence, the psalmist’s words, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” God always provides an escape from temptation through the power of His Word. Remember these words, “Sin may keep you from God’s word, but God’s word will keep you from sin.”
>“C” stands for: CENTERED.
When God is the center of our lives, the more clearly we’re able to see through Satan’s deceitful ways and lies. The more time we spend with God, the easier it is for us to say no to Satan’s invitations. If we submit ourselves to God and stay strong in our relationship with Him, we can walk through life with much confidence of defeating Satan’s daily attacks. We can know that when we remain in God’s presence, we will be able to resist Satan and all of his temptations. God will not allow it, for God allows nothing impure and unholy to enter into His presence.
>“A” stands for ACCOUNTABILITY.
Accountability refers to fellow Christians depending on each other for support and encouragement. Paul wrote in Hebrews 3:12-13, “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” The more we work together in Christ, Satan’s attacks are more easily defeated. The more faithful we are to each other and the more we hold each other accountable, the stronger we will be in our fight against the temptations of Satan.
This point is illustrated by a story told about a horse pull that was held in Canada. One horse was able to pull 9,000 pounds by itself, another horse pulled 8,000 pounds. One would think with the two horses pulling together they would pull up to 17,000 pounds. But that’s not so…When teamed together, the two horses were able to pull 30,000 pounds! This principle is called synergism. Separate agents working together have a greater total effect than the sum of the individual agents. So much more can be done in a team effort than accomplished by just one. It’s the same way when fighting temptation. I guess it could be called Spiritual synergism. One of the most wonderful things about Christian fellowship is that we can go to one another with our struggles and be honest about our temptations and failures because each of us are nothing more than sinners saved by the grace of God.
>“P” Stands for PRAYER.
When we feel the tug of temptation, the best option we have is to stay close to God…and the best way to do that is pray…Simply talking with God and asking for strength and power. It’s what Jesus instructed us to do when He taught us His model prayer, “…lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” It’s the same instruction he gave his disciples when in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” James tells us about the power of prayer. He wrote, “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” He also wrote, “Is any one of you in trouble? Then he should pray…” God will hear our voice and answer our call. It’s great to know that we have that power…the power of prayer?
>“E” stands for Evangelism.
As Christians, there’s one thing we must always remember; when we yield to temptation and sin against God, we lose something very precious…the power of our personal witness. Paul warns us not to become a stumbling block to the weak, but always to act in righteousness, not only for our own good, but for the good of others as
well. What we do and what we say affect others. Paul wrote “In everything set them an example by doing what is good.” We must always be cautious in our witness for Christ. We set the example of being strong against temptation….and we are being watched. We must ask ourselves, “Am I living a life for others to see and imitate?” What we do and what we say can cause others grow or fail.
>Let’s review the keys to escaping temptation…
Environment – Stay out of the places and off the paths that lead to destruction.
Scripture – Study and stay strong in God’s word to use as a weapon against temptation.
Centered – When our lives are centered on God, the easier it is to fight off temptation.
Accountability – We must hold each other responsible for our actions.
Prayer – Talk with the Lord daily.
Evangelism – When we are busy working for God, we don’t have time to sin.
Temptation is inevitable…As long as we are on this earth, Satan will tempt us. But temptation involves a choice – We can choose to obey God and live in true peace and joy, or we can give in to desires of the flesh which lead to nothing but a life of disappointments and eventually a life separated from God. Learn to trust in Jesus to fight temptations. He knows what we we go through and can empathize with each of us. The writer of Hebews tells us that Christ Himself suffered in the flesh with temptation.
“Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.”
And because He knows, He will help us get through any and all temptations we face.
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
The questions you must ask yourself are:
“Am I strong enough in my walk with the Lord Jesus Christ to overcome temptation?”
“Am I able to pull off the “Great Escape?”