No temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. — 1 Corinthians 10:13 (AMPC)
Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind – by Joyce Meyer
Years ago, a comedian’s favorite punch line was, “The devil made me do it,” to which the audience always roared. Why do you think people laughed so hard? Was it because they wanted it to be true? Did they want to free themselves of responsibility for their actions by putting it on an outside force?
It’s always easy to blame someone else or outside forces for our actions. Many people justify their own harmful habits and behavior by saying things like, “My father never said a kind word to me.” “My cousin abused me.” “People in our neighborhood made fun of me because I wore old and patched clothes.” “I never had money when I was growing up, so now as soon as my paycheck comes, it’s gone.”
Those statements are probably true, and they may explain why we suffer. All of these situations (as well as the ones not mentioned here) are terrible, and my heart breaks that people are going through so much pain in their lives.
Yet, while we can and should acknowledge the hurts we’ve experienced, we don’t have the right to blame other people or circumstances for our behavior. We can’t use them as an excuse to stay stuck, then expect to get free. In today’s verse, Paul makes it clear that all of us have our own set of temptations, and for each of us, the circumstances may be different, but the promise God gives is the same. He’s promised us a way to escape, no matter what, because He wants to set us free. The escape is provided, but we have to choose to take it.
One day on the morning news, the reporter showed a restaurant that had caught on fire. One woman stood within sight of the back exit, but she didn’t move—she was frozen in fear. She stood 20 feet away and screamed. A coworker rushed back inside and grabbed her. She fought him, but he finally managed to drag her out.
Isn’t that sometimes how it works with us and God? We know the way of escape, but we feel paralyzed, or we blame someone or something for our inability to move. Or we think, Here it is again. I know I should push through and fight this, but I’ll give in again, just like I always have. I’m too weak to deal with this right now.
Our weakness is one of our greatest excuses. We may be weak, but God is strong, and He’s willing to be our strength. If we’ll trust Him and take the steps of faith He’s asking us to take, He will help us break free from every sin and addiction that’s been holding us back.
What we need to understand is that Satan takes our circumstances—no matter what they are—and uses them to build strongholds in our lives. He’ll use whatever he can—our sense of weakness, our problems from childhood, or the wrong things we did when we were 12 years old. If the devil can darken our minds—if he can make us think we can’t possibly win—we’ve lost. That’s why we need to keep reminding ourselves that we serve a victorious God who has provided the spiritual weapons we need to tear down the enemy’s strongholds.
One more thing: When we give in to temptation, aren’t we subtly saying that God isn’t able to help us? We don’t enjoy taking full responsibility for our actions—or, in many cases, our lack of action—but we need to. We need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves, shifting blame, and ignoring problems. We need to believe God when He says He’s faithful, won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can handle, and will always come through with an escape for us. We don’t need to live in fear, always feeling that our problems are too big to overcome. We must have a “can-do” attitude—one that says, “I can do whatever I need to do whenever I need to do it, because God is with me,” (see Philippians 4:13).
That’s God’s promise, and He lays His reputation on the line with that promise. He will never abandon us or leave us helpless. We can be like the woman who screamed but wouldn’t move, or we can choose to thank God for providing a door of escape, then run through it.
Our problems are often internal, affecting our thoughts and attitudes. The results—the outward behavior—flow out of those thoughts and attitudes. So when we keep our mind turned toward Jesus, listening to His voice, we know there is an escape route for us—always.
Prayer Starter: Father, please help me face issues and temptations with the knowledge that You’re always with me, and that You’re my escape route. Thank You for being so faithful! In Jesus’ Name, amen.