“Dealing with Temptation”
I Corinthians 10:12-13, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Make note of the words, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.” Paul makes it very clear that it is not a sin to be tempted. Temptation is “common to man.” This may be disappointing news to share, but life is loaded with temptations!
Historian Dr. Shelby tells of a soldier who was wounded at the battle of Shiloh during the Civil War, and he was ordered to go to the rear. The fighting was very fierce and within just minutes he returned to his commanding officer. He said, “Give me a gun; this fight ain’t got any rear!”
In this life, there is no place to run and hide from temptation. You’re going to face it. But remember it isn’t a sin to be tempted! Where the sin comes in is when we choose to hang out in Satan’s territory! So often we put ourselves in that place to be tempted. When you intentionally hang out with the wrong crowd, you are putting yourself in a place to be tempted! When you intentionally sit yourself in front of a television, you are putting yourself in a place to be tempted! When you intentionally walk into a store that sells dirty magazines, you are putting yourself in a place to be tempted! When you intentionally walk into a casino, “just to enjoy the good food for the cheap price,” you are putting yourself in a place to be tempted! Putting yourself in Satan’s territory is just like walking across enemy lines all alone with no weapon! When you put yourself in the place to be tempted and then yield to the temptation, then you have committed sin!
The end of the life of Germany’s famous “Red Baron,” Manfred von Richthofen came on April 21, 1918, because he pursued a British airplane “too long, too far, and too low into enemy territory.” Putting yourself in Satan’s territory is just like walking across enemy lines all alone with no weapon! When you put yourself in the place to be tempted and then yield to the temptation, you have committed sin! Upon yielding to sin you have yielded yourself to be an instrument of unrighteousness, or more plainly— “A servant of Satan!”
So where does it all start? Satan likes to work through our mind! Before anyone ever went to the wrong place with their feet, they went there in their mind! Before anyone ever said that with their mouth, they said it in their mind! Before anyone ever committed that sin with their hands, they committed it in their mind! Satan doesn’t grab your feet and make you go where you don’t want to go. Or your mouth and make you say things you don’t want to say. Or your hands and make you do things you don’t want to do. He puts the thought in your mind and does his best to make sure it stays there!!! And if you get rid of that thought, he’s there to try to shove it back in again! So where is the battle? It’s in the mind! Satan presents the test! What are you going to do?
My advice to you is, “When Satan presents the test, you do your best!” “But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.” Notice “Ye are able. . .” What are we able to do? If you found yourself in a pit, no ladder, no way to get up, no hope of getting out, what would you do? You would do your best to get out! So many have told me of how hard they try to overcome their weaknesses and not commit certain sins, but they just can’t seem to get the victory. But you ask them how much they’ve been praying and reading their Bible and you find out why they don’t have the victory. They just aren’t doing all that they are able to do! We must remember that in our quest for victory we must always do our very best to overcome the attacks of Satan. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
When I was around the age of 8-10 years old I was picked on at school a whole lot! Do you know why I was picked on continually? I didn’t try to resist. I didn’t tattletale. I didn’t do anything. I was completely passive and let the big boys throw me in the dirt every day they wanted to! You say, “The devil’s been on me all day.” You’re just like I was when I was a little kid. You’re just letting the devil push you around! You can’t just say, “Boo!” and expect the devil to trip over his own pitchfork trying to get out of your way. We’re not playing a game of laser tag with the devil; this is spiritual warfare! Eph. 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Are you doing all that you are able to do in resisting sin? Satan presents the test! Are you doing your best?
Little Henry was slowly recovering from a serious illness. His mother had put him on a strict diet and chocolate cake was something he could not eat. One afternoon while he was lying in the bed, his little sister came in with a big piece of chocolate cake and waved it in his face. He closed his eyes and said, “You get out of my room right now with that cake, and I’m going to keep my eyes shut while you go!”
When Satan presents the test, you do your best, and God will provide the rest! “. . .But God is faithful…….. but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Something we hear often is, “Where there is a will, there is a way!” There are two things that are going to keep you from committing that sin—Your Will and God’s Way! If you don’t have a Will, you’ll never find His Way out! Have you ever been in a big building, gotten confused, and couldn’t find an exit? You knew it was there! We know that God always makes a way! He is faithful and will always provide an exit! But you have got to express your total dependence upon God. You cry, “God, please get me out of this,” and He will make a way! II Peter 2:9 says, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations.” His grace is sufficient for you and He will help you out of that temptation!