1 Thessalonians 4
“...but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” —James 1:14
When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the beautiful Garden of Eden, they had everything they ever needed but then came a time when Eve wanted to go one step further. She wanted the one thing they were forbidden to eat. We may find that God works, God blesses and God provides but we want more. This temptation to go beyond what God gives is common to all of us because we have an old nature. We may be quick to blame the devil for our temptations but, even if the devil and all his demons died tonight, we would probably still sin tomorrow because we have a corrupt nature.
Do not think for a minute that our own temptations are unique, as Paul tells us, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind...” Yet, we are encouraged to know that, “...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” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
We could glean three points from Paul’s writing about temptation. Firstly, temptation is common to us all, where none of us are exempt from being tempted in this world. Secondly, God controls our temptations, as He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. We may find this truth difficult to believe because we have all been repeatedly beaten by temptations that we cannot cope with or do not know how to deal with. But we have hope in our temptations because thirdly, temptation is conquerable. When we are tempted, God will provide a way out so we can stand up under it. There is always going to be a way out of temptation. The problem is when we are tempted, we get so excited by the temptation that we do not want to look for the way out, because we love the temptation.
Temptation, by definition, is something attractive and luring; otherwise, it would not be a temptation. We are never tempted to do something crazy, like jump in front of a bus on the road. The trouble is when we let the temptation go so long that we no longer look for a way out; we look for a way in—as long as nobody is looking. When we are enticed by the temptations of this world, may we flee temptation and find ourselves driven to a greater dependence on God and draw on His grace, presence and strength. There is always a way out of temptation: when we turn to God, temptation is conquerable.
Dear God, thank You for providing the way out when I am tempted. Help me to flee temptation and know that it is conquerable through You