“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”—1 Corinthians 10:13
On one occasion, a Christian woman came to the Elders of our church and asked for special prayer because she was so terribly tempted to accept the pressure from her male friend that they become sexually intimate. Because immorality had been in her background, she found herself weary of resisting his overtures and was about to give in to the temptation. We admired the fact that she was willing to seek out special prayer when she felt she was being tested above what she could bear.
In the Scripture verse above, Paul is speaking about the sins of the Israelites, who, though greatly blessed by God, nonetheless succumbed to sins of various kinds: idolatry, sexual immorality, grumbling, anger, and the like. They were redeemed by the blood of the lamb in Egypt, they were led by God in the desert, and their needs were cared for. Yet, in the face of all these undeserved privileges, they turned their back on the God who loved them. Their sin was greater because their opportunities were greater.
The verse we are using this week for our prayer time is a promise with this assurance: God gives us shoulders that are strong enough to bear whatever He places on them. We cannot use our backgrounds, those who have wronged us, or our circumstances as excuses for sinning. With the test comes a way of escape so that we can bear it. Someone has said, “God doesn’t give us what we can handle, God helps us handle what we are given.”
The Corinthian church could not excuse sin in their midst because of their cultural situation (Corinth was renowned for the availability of its prostitutes). God requires holiness, no matter what temptations a church is surrounded with; an evil world never justifies an evil church. Unfortunately, some of their members were looking for a way out of their temptations by indulgence, not endurance.
Let us pray that God will give us, and those we love, the grace and strength to find a way of escape in the midst of our temptations. Often that way of escape is to flee the very presence of the temptation. We must be willing to get rid of our television, break up a sinful relationship, or move to another part of town. In other words, we should do whatever is necessary for us to avoid the temptations that erode our ability to resist sin’s enticements.
Let Us Pray
Father, I pray that You might deliver me from the excuses I use to justify my sin; help me to realize that no matter the test, You do give grace to endure it. Help me to find the way of escape and teach others so that they also can find the route to victory and blessing.
I pray for ______ that they might be willing to pay any price to keep from stumbling into sin. I pray that they might realize that regardless of the test they are experiencing, someone else in the same circumstances, and with the same desires, met that same test successfully. I pray that they might find a way of escape, that they might find the door that will lead them away from the temptation rather than toward it. Deliver them from those clever rationalizations that justify our sin.
Thank You that Jesus endured this trial successfully, and because He stands in our place, He can help us do the same.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.