How to Avoid Temptation
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.
Maybe I’ve missed, it but I don’t hear much talk about “temptation” anymore. Could it be that it is no longer considered a valid concern in our “as long as it feels good do it” world? At the risk of sounding like an old dude or your parents, I’m going to devote a few moments today to the subject of temptation.
For many, avoiding “temptation” has to do with dieting and staying away from cheesecake. From a biblical perspective, temptation is the lure of pleasures, passions, indulgences, and sinful behavior that leads to ungodly behavior. It is sin in seemingly irresistible packages that powerfully engages our senses and motivates us to desire something other than God. Temptation is the “I’ve got to have it” that God doesn’t want us to have. Sometimes it is so powerful that it desensitizes us to the will of God and renders us insanely stupid.
To give into temptation is to give into sin. When that happens you break fellowship with God and enter into dangerous and destructive behavior. Wallowing in such behavior ultimately hurts you, your witness, your future, and the people you love. The consequences can be devastating and long lasting.
In our scripture for today the Apostle Paul gives us very concise and meaningful instruction on the subject of temptation. He tells us who can expect to be tempted and what we should do when tempted.
Who can expect to be tempted?
That’s easy. All of us. Paul teaches that temptation is “common to man.” Temptation is no respecter of persons, age, or spiritual maturity, and it can strike when you least expect it. It is an enemy hiding in the bushes ready to attack and destroy.
As a Christian you can expect frequent occurrences of temptation. Satan is the Tempter who desires to hinder your work for God and disrupt your plans for growing in Christ. Keep your guard up.
Temptation is like a giant magnet pulling you into its grasp. Paul uses the word “seized” to describe the powerful attraction of temptation. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.” To be seized is to be under the power of another. You become like a shackled prisoner.
Now, the good news. Paul reminds us that “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” That means that God is standing by and is ready to help when we are confronted by temptation. Of course, where we often miss the boat is when we are unwilling to let Him help. We want what temptation offers more than God.
God “will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” When you are under the attack of temptation ask God to show you the “way out.” Taking His “way out” provides you with the strength to “stand up under it.”
Say NO to temptation when it first appears.
Don’t allow your mind to dwell on it or try to rationalize how it might be in your best interest to give into it. The longer you think about it the more likely you are to give into it. Don’t allow the spark to turn into a consuming flame. Keep a continual and open dialogue with God. Pray through the temptation and gain your strength and wisdom from God.
You may be reading this wishing that you had heard these words sooner because you have already surrendered to temptation. God, who provides “a way out” to avoid temptation also wants to help you get your life back on track. “He is faithful to forgive.” (1 John 1:9)
Ask for His forgiveness and repent of your sin. That is to say, change the behavior that is offensive to God. Yes, there may still be lingering consequences for your sin but ultimately God will restore and renew the abundant life that He has planned for you.
For more on this topic, check out this article: When Your Spirit Is Willing but Your Flesh Is Weak
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.