God and Temptation
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
As Paul explains, the people in the OT experienced the same temptations we do today. We are no different in our experience of temptation, including sexual immorality. And yet when given the opportunity, they made wrong choices leading to God’s punishment (often death). Paul is encouraging us to see that we are not above temptation just because we are Christian. We need to be careful because temptation(s) will come. Fortunately for us, God limits the severity of temptation for his children so that it isn’t beyond what we can bear. And God always provides a way out for us so that we can endure it, or stand up under it. That also means we do not have an excuse for succumbing to temptation either. We cannot say, “the devil made me do it.” Or “well everyone is doing it,” or “I couldn’t say ‘no'”. We can say “No” to temptation because we have the Holy Spirit within us, who empowers us to make the right choices. And when we are tempted God provides a way out, an exit door so to speak. It’s there if you look. The problem is we don’t want to because the temptation is pleasurable, it feels good, it is fun (at first), it is the easy way, it allows me to continue hanging out with my “friends”, to not face their judgment or rejection.
Paul goes on to say that we should not eat of the table of our Lord (communion – representing the grace and forgiveness of our Lord), and the table of demons (referring to succumbing to sin from temptation). We cannot have a split life when it comes to following Jesus, trying to have it both ways. Jesus died so that we would be set free from temptation and sin, not to continue enslaving ourselves to it over and over. When we succumb to temptation it is like we are putting Jesus on the cross all over again (Hebrew 6:6). Just because we can do something in our freedom in Christ doesn’t mean we should. Does whatever we are about to do go to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)? If not then we shouldn’t do it, because we are here to glorify God, not fulfill every pleasures of our heart.