How to Bear Temptation 1 Cor. 10:13 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
People often misquote this verse by saying, “God will never give you more than you can handle” – but when you read this verse carefully you see, in the first place, he doesn’t “give” the temptation to you [Jas 1:13] and, secondly, you see that your ability to “bear” temptation comes from God’s faithfulness to give you a way to escape. So, we need to examine this verse more closely so that we can correctly learn how to bear temptation. In order to bear temptation you need to recognize:
Temptation’s Firm Grip – “there hath no temptation taken you” – Jas 1:14-15 describes how temptation works – a man is drawn away of his own lust and enticed – then when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death – so temptation works by using your own lust against you – temptation draws you away, it grips you and drags you like a prisoner.
- Temptation captivates your mind so that your lust becomes your dominate thought
- Temptation entices your flesh to demand that it be satisfied like a whining child
- Temptation deceives you into believing that it is ok to do the wrong thing – so you find a way to justify your sin [and there are myriad ways to justify sin]
- Temptation draws you away from the scripture that warns you against the sin, from your resolve to quit that sin and from the Spirit who strengthens you against sin [Gal 5:16-17]
- Temptation will bargain with you – ‘do it once more and you’ll never have to do it again’ [till next time] – you’ll put up a little fight against it but then in a weak moment you will give in
- Temptation will slacken its grip while you wallow in your guilt, beat yourself up for giving in and covenant once again to never do it again
- Temptation soon returns because your flesh is never satisfied and you find that you are still in sins grip
This is what Solomon describes as being “holden with the cords of his sins,” [Prov 5:22] – what you and I need to do is find out how to break this grip of temptation so that we can bear it – in other words, you are never going to be rid of lust in your flesh as long as you are alive – but you can learn to bear the temptation that comes from it.
Temptation’s Common Tactic – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man” – you need to get past the thought that your situation is unique – that your temptation is much harder to deal with than other people’s – every man or woman is a prisoner to some lust – it’s common – if we would all “spill our guts” we would find that we are all having the same kinds of problems – thank God, we don’t “spill our guts” but rest assured that your temptation is just like everyone else’s – temptation always deals with “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” [1 Jn 2:16] – even Jesus was tempted “in all points… as we are, yet without sin,” [Heb 4:15; Matt 4:4-11] – temptation hasn’t changed its tactics – it comes in the same way every time – through the flesh, through the eyes and through the pride of life – so we don’t need to come up with some special, newfangled way to deal with our temptation – temptation’s common tactic only needs a common defense.
Temptation’s Faithful Opponent – “but God is faithful” – there it is – you and I can rely upon God’s faithfulness – in temptation you need to turn your attention and your faith toward the Lord and what he said just like Jesus did in the wilderness – whom do you love more, the thing that you are lusting for or the Lord? In temptation, the lust and the thing that you are lusting for are so magnified that they overshadow your love for God and your faith in his words – you wouldn’t want to believe that you are more in love with the thing you are lusting for than you are with the Lord – but the truth of the matter is that you love what is tempting you – you want it – and at the time you are really struggling with the temptation, God is faithful in his love toward you so that even though you want it so bad that you are willing to turn your back on God momentarily to get it, God is still there for you to help you and to give you grace enough to get through the temptation – you need to be content with what you have and with the fact that he will never leave thee nor forsake thee and you need to come to the throne of grace for help [Heb 13:5; Heb 4:16] – there is no excuse that God will accept for you sinning in any temptation because he is faithful to help you in every imaginable temptation that there is.
Temptation’s Upper Limit – “who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able” – so God limits the temptation to that which ye are able to handle [this is where people get the idea that God will never give you more than you can handle] – however, he doesn’t take the temptation away from you – this is a misconception – some people actually think God is going to deliver them from the temptation or from the sin – the truth is that the temptation is always going to be there because lust is always there – and God is not going to stop the lust – he would have to kill you to do that – and he is not going to prevent you from suffering due to the lust – Heb 12:4 says, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” – he doesn’t award the martyr’s crown [Rev 2:10] to you without suffering – Jas 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” – what God does is that he limits the temptation so that it is just short of you having to give in – he wants to toughen you up – and we aren’t very tough – and he wants to prove your love!!!!!!!!!!
Temptation’s Defenseless Breach – “but will with the temptation make a way to escape” – God makes a way to escape that temptation cannot defend – praise the Lord – most of us become so taken with the temptation and so easily give in to temptation that we never even see this way to escape – when you give into the lust then you have simply decided that you want to sin to temporarily alleviate the temptation rather than to trust God and his escape to get you through it – you have decided that it is easier to stay in bondage [holden with the cords of his sins] and cool down the temptation by giving into the lust [because it is pleasurable and expedient] than it would be to bear it and escape the grip of temptation – imagine the upper limit of temptation in a vertical pipe with an escape hatch part way up – as the temptation builds you pass by the hatch and can go through it – you will miss the pleasure at the top of the pipe by escaping but you will be free from the bondage of that pipe and from the terrible fall that comes every time you reach the top – what’s through that escape hatch is:
- Fellowship with God in prayer – 1 Thes 5:17
- Strength from the words of God – Eph 6:16-17
- Christ living in me – Gal 2:20
- Filling with the Spirit of God – Eph 5:18
- Affections set on things above – Col 3:1-2
- The joy of suffering with Christ – Jas 1:2; 1 Pet 4:12-13
- The victory of overcoming the world – 1 Jn 5:4
Temptation’s Resilient Contender – “that ye may be able to bear it” – temptation is not stronger than you are – God is on your side – you do not have to live in bondage to sin [Jn 8:32, 36] – temptation has deceived you into believing that you will be in bondage to serving your insatiable appetites – but now you know that you can escape that bondage like the Jews did Egypt and live in the wilderness in constant fellowship with your faithful God and Father – your flesh will never be satisfied but your spirit and soul will be constantly content when you trust the faithfulness of God to escape temptation and bear it – you are the one who will stand up to temptation by the grace of God and say without reservation, “By God’s faithfulness and his way to escape I am bearing you.”
Conclusion: You won’t be trying to escape if you don’t WANT to get out of bondage – you’ll take bondage and fulfilled lusts over freedom and unfulfilled lusts – you will have to live with temporary pleasure AND guilt and shame and disappointment and the other consequences of your sin – but if you want to BEAR IT you will get to live in the strength of God’s grace and the beauty of his fellowship and in the certainty of his faithfulness but your lust will go unfulfilled – which do you really want?