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February 11th & 13th, 2020

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 of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

- 1 Corinthians 10:13

Part 1 Feb 11

Every Christian has puzzled over this verse at some time and even seized hold of it in desperation during times of temptation. Let’s take it apart.

1. There hath no temptation taken you.  Learn this — the temptations that bug you are common to us all. Temptation is another one of those words that seem to fit its description perfectly. It is there to take you, to kidnap you, to take you captive until you die in sin; but not entirely against your will.

The temptation is there to take you, but if you get taken, some of your will might be involved in the temptation, otherwise, Satan’s temptation would be pointless exercise; there would be no temptation. It would be like someone trying to tempt a non-drug taker with heroin, it just wouldn’t work unless there was a little bit of interest, desire or curiosity in that person. We must learn to recognise that the thought we are wrestling with is a temptation, and to stop it right there, then prepare for the next attack.

2. but such as is common to man.  Many Christians cannot own up to their sin or falling due to shame. They wonder why it is they who fall and not others. They think this temptation has bypassed others to come exclusively to them in its constant attack. This is one reason God wants us to share problems because we will find out that what is attacking us is common to others in the church, but many are too scared to damage their reputations by sharing it.

Don’t we discuss with others when we have a common cold? Why not share when we have common temptations?

3. God is faithful. We know this and think nothing needs to be said here. However, this piece had been added for a purpose. When we have fallen to temptation, we can be so ashamed that we think God has left us; we think He thinks we are weak, and therefore for useless for His purposes. This mindset can grow like a weed, and become, “God is only faithful to the faithful, which I am not.” God IS faithful. Yes, He expects us to grow and overcome every temptation, to become resilient as great men and women of faith, but in those baby steps as children, He is there to pick us up when we fall.

Today’s Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your understanding of the human life by adding this scripture. I know you made us and realise our weaknesses, so please continue to help me through mine.

Part 2 Feb 13.

4. who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;  We ARE able to resist more than we think. We say we can’t resist alcohol, yet if we are being forced to partake in Cyanide we will emphatically resist; It won’t get passed our lips. We have the desire and power to resist if we see the need is great enough.

God says He will not suffer us to be tempted beyond what we can resist. This means He has the power over Satan to say, “don't tempt them over this line!” (This is the temptation part.) However, that doesn’t mean that we at times don't override God's decision because of our own personal desire for that temptation.

5. but with the temptation also make a way of escape. What is that way of escape? This is the puzzling section of this passage.

It means, when Satan has the temptation gun pointed at you, there is a back door, an exit that leads to freedom. This can work for both the temptation and your desire (if your desire for God is greater). The Blood of Jesus is overpowering against temptations, and He was sacrificially slaughtered for that very reason — to keep you from falling. Jude 24 “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling…”  

In the resistance, we need to do some work as well. Our job is to man the fort, to resist the onslaught of the enemy as it comes in its waves, to fight back with valour and vigour until that enemy backs off until he retreats. We have then won the hour, yet the next wave will surely come in another hour. When we maintain our resist-stance, the enemy will eventually flee from us. The best way to deal with a bully is to punch him square on the nose.

The Holy Spirit is the strength of this. He is the comforter, which is made up of two words — Com = With / Fort - Strength.

6. that ye may be able to bear it. If we are to win we must bear the fighting — the battle. Often, we don't visualise these attacks as a typical war, where we are soldiers of the Cross fighting for our spiritual lives and the lives of our fellow-soldiers.

Many war stories speak of a few valiant people fighting off the onslaught of a seemingly much stronger enemy, which is what our Christian life feels like at times.

Here is one from 1694 when the Polish defended their nation. It is very similar to the Christian soldier's defence of his/her spiritual life.

"The 400-strong Polish cavalry charged the 700-strong Tatar vanguard and made them withdraw. Shortly afterwards Polish forces retreated to Hodów village due to overwhelming enemy numbers and proceeded to fortify themselves using heavy wooden fences left there from earlier Tatar invasions. For the next 6 hours, Polish troops resisted relentless Tatar attacks. Even after the Polish ran out of bullets, they continued to fire at the enemy, using Tatar arrowheads as improvised ammunition for their guns. Unable to defeat the Poles, the Tatars sent Polish-speaking Lipka Tatars to convince the Polish troops to surrender. When the Polish commander replied "Come and get us if you can", the Tatars withdrew to Kamieniec Podolski and gave up on the entire raid, having gained nearly nothing despite large troop losses and vast numerical advantage. Wiki.

Temptations arisDear Lord, thank you for the strength the Holy Spirit possesses against my enemy, and thank you that He is willing to fight on my behalf. Please help me to engage the enemy myself and not run in times of battle, trying to leave it all to the Holy Spirit.

Today’s prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the strength the Holy Spirit possesses against my enemy, and thank you that He is willing to fight on my behalf. Please help me to engage the enemy and not run in times of battle, trying to leave it all to the Holy Spirit.


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