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Pastoral 2016

OUR TEMPTATIONS & GOD'S HELP

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1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “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.

The Greek word which Paul uses for “temptation” (peirasmós) in the above verse can mean either a temptation of sin or a trial. Generally, temptation is an incentive or enticement or provocation to sin. When afflictions are brought upon us by Satan, he would also attempt to stir within us doubt, impatience and even apostasy. But as it was in the case of Job, God will use the trials and temptations brought by Satan to prove the faith and fervency of His children.

Three major divine promises are given here to comfort and strengthen Christians who are encountering temptations and trials in their lives. The first promise is that God would not permit any temptation that is uncommon to man to befall His people. The second promise is that our faithful God will not allow us to be tempted above that we are able. The third promise is that along with the temptation, God will make a way for us to escape so that it will not be unbearable to us. So often, people try to extenuate their sins by citing the strength of temptations and the weakness of their human nature. They speak as though temptations and trials are expected to get the better of them. But Scripture teaches that such notions are absolutely groundless.

The apostle Paul reminds us that “there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man”. Whatever temptation or trial that we experience had already been experienced by other saints of God, and had been resisted and overcome with God’s help. It is totally absurd to believe that there never was anyone who had faced temptations and trials as you have. So, do not become despondent and yield to the enticements and provocations of your particular temptation. When God permits the temptations and trials authored by Satan, He wants us to know that we can certainly overcome them with His help. If they were beyond our power to resist, how could they be called temptations or trials?

Truly, when God’s children are faced with temptations and trials, they can be assured that God is faithful to them. His faithfulness to His people is very great. Lamentations 3:23 declares, “great is thy faithfulness”! God is faithful to all whom He has called (cf. 1 Cor. 1:9; 1 Thess. 5:24; 2 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 2:13). In the midst of our temptations and trials, if we look only to ourselves, we would fail. But if we would depend on the faithfulness of our God, we will be secure. This is not to say that we do not have to make any effort on our own to resist the temptations that assault us, but rather that we can trust Him to be faithful to help us in our efforts to overcome them. If at any time we err in our conduct, we should immediately repent and confess our sins, for “he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).

Because God is faithful, we are assured that He “will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able”. He will never place us where we cannot overcome temptations of sin. Let us believe in His assurances and resist our temptations. Even when difficulties increase and we see no light at the end of the tunnel, let us trust that He will not abandon us to our ruthless foe, the devil. Amidst our temptations and trials, the Lord shall be most tender and affectionate towards us. He will be paying attention to our peculiar struggles and challenges. As Psalm 103:14 tells us, “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Being our faithful God, He would never let temptations that are disproportionate to our strength to overtake us.

Nonetheless, we have known of believers who have foolishly walked into great temptations and troubles. Consider Lot, for instance. He went and resided in Sodom, a city of great wickedness. He lost his family to the wickedness of that city. Yet, the apostle Peter tells us that God “delivered just Lot” who was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked” (2 Peter 2:7). It is instructive to note that on Lot’s part, many careless and foolish choices were made, but on God’s part, He is faithful and merciful to rescue His child who had wandered far into a land of temptations and dangers.

Even though we may feel that we are almost defeated by temptations and trials, God will indeed provide “a way to escape”. God Himself will see to it that we are delivered from our temptations and trials! ■

Pictures from Gethsemane BPC, Cebu

 

 

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