“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 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” (1 Cor. 10:12-13).
1 Corinthians 10:13 takes away all our excuses regarding temptation. A pastor once jokingly told me that this is his least favorite verse in the Bible. It’s a convicting verse, because it shows that we have no one to blame but ourselves when we succumb to temptation and sin. You hear people make the facetious excuse when they fall into sin that “The devil made me do it!” But the devil never makes us do anything. He does tempt and deceive, but the responsibility for falling into sin is our own.
Verse 13 is relatively well-known, but verse 12 needs to be remembered with it. In order for verse 13 to work in our lives, verse 12 must first take place. Verse 12 shows that to be able to turn from temptation there needs to be humility and a distrust of self. If we proudly believe that we are strong and can stand up to any temptation, we’re going to fall.
J. Vernon McGee told the following: “I think of the little boy who was playing around one evening in the pantry. He had gotten down the cookie jar. His mother called to him and said, ‘Willie, what are you doing in the pantry?’ He said, ‘I’m fighting temptation!’”1 Standing there with the cookie jar in our hands is not the place to fight temptation! We’re going to fall when we think we can fight temptation.
By first having a realistic view of ourselves and our weakness, then can we live by and apply verse 13, which points us to the faithful God. Not trusting ourselves and turning to the Lord is where we find strength against temptation.
There are those who feel that nobody has ever been tempted like they are tempted. But no matter what tempts you, there have been and there are others who are tempted the same way. It’s comforting to know that “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.” You’re never alone in whatever temptation you are facing. There are always others who have the exact same struggle you do.
To overcome temptation, we need to look to God, Who is always faithful. This is how and where we find the strength and wisdom to turn from any temptation or endure it: we look to the Lord, seek His aid, and obey His Word. God is faithful to be with us always and to help us. He is faithful to His Word and faithful to the promises of verse 13.
God promises the Body of Christ that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to deal with. He does not promise that He will take all temptation away. When temptation comes, He does promise “a way to escape” it so that we are strong enough to bear it. The way out is always there right along with the temptation. God promises the appropriate way of escape from each particular temptation. Thus, we are given the choice whether or not we’ll look for or take the way out that He provides.
Regarding the temptation of idolatry, Paul wrote in the next verse, “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, FLEE from idolatry” (v. 14). Regarding the temptation of fornication, earlier in 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote the church to “FLEE fornication” (6:18). We need to let the devil see the backs of our shoes when it comes to temptation. Many times, the solution is just to run as fast as we can to get away from the sin that is tempting us. As Warren Wiersbe once said, “The believer who thinks he can stand may fall; but the believer who flees will be able to stand.”
However, sometimes it’s not possible to remove yourself completely from a temptation. When it is not possible to avoid the circumstance, God is faithful, and we need to keep our eyes on Him and He will give the strength to bear it. Because often the solution and God’s escape is a closer walk with Him.
1. J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Vol. V (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson
Publishers, 1983), p. 635.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.