“And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
Yesterday we looked at what temptation is and why Satan’s strategy is often so effective. Today I’d like for us to examine more closely, our own strategy to avoid the crippling effects of falling prey to the enemy’s deceptions.
Temptation can come in many forms, but universally it appeals to our own desires. For example, let’s say you’re going home from church. You’ve just listened to an amazing message on patience and humility, outlining how Jesus always put the needs of others ahead of His own. You’re humming along with the Christian music that is playing, you’re smiling, just having a great time of worship as you drive home. Then a couple of guys in a little sports car whiz around you shouting obscenities and flipping you off with the international sign of displeasure.
What moments before was an auditorium of praise has now become the cockpit of a fighter jet! The race is on! Why? What changed? You did! You allowed Satan to shift your focus from Jesus to something inside of you that hates to feel put down or out done. Suddenly your desire to praise God became a desire to get even, or worse. Where did God go? Nowhere! He’s still right where you left Him. You’re the one who left Him, He didn’t leave you.
What’s my point? Most often our “means of escape” from temptation isn’t a voice from heaven or a big red sign saying “STOP!” It’s a still, small, persistent voice within saying: “I know what you’re thinking and it’s a very bad idea! Think about what you’re about to do!”
The above scenario has happened to me numerous times and I’ve let it get the best of me and done careless and reckless things before I finally saw the futility of it all. But now, I rarely give it a second thought. By keeping my focus on the Lord and asking for his help to calm down, I avoid potentially dangerous scenarios.
One of my deepest regrets centers on a decision I made to stay when I should have left. God sent someone to tell me to walk away, but I didn’t listen. That one decision ultimately led to the demise of my marriage.
God is faithful to give us a way of escape. Sometimes that escape is to literally run. Leave as fast as you can the place of temptation. If you’re tempted to surf porn sites, get blocks on your device. If you’re an alcoholic, stay away from the liquor store and/or bars, but most importantly, stay away from those who tempt you to drink, or do whatever God has clearly instructed you not to do. With every addiction, there’s a trigger, and the only means of escape is intervention. By God certainly, but very often by others.
Please trust someone to walk with you through your “storm” of sobriety, whatever that may look like for you, and allow yourself to build a team of people who love Jesus and love you, who will walk with you through your healing journey. There are lots of things I’ve learned about temptation and how to overcome it, but the most important lesson I’ve learned is: you can’t walk faith’s journey alone!
You’ve got to have someone watching your back. It’s critical that you allow yourself to be open to others who are walking a similar path. Trust and accountability are the only roads to healing and wholeness. Put your full trust in Jesus, then allow Him to point you to one or two others who will be your lifelines to physical, spiritual, and emotional health.
Blessings, Ed 😊