When my husband, Joe's, company informed all their employees that they would be leaving their present location, and moving halfway across the country the following year, he had a decision to make. Those employees who agreed to move with the company would be given numerous bonuses and financial incentives, and would be guaranteed employment indefinitely. But those who refused to make the move could lose their jobs at any time. Since both of our children were married, and lived nearby at the time, neither my husband, nor I, had any desire to leave them behind. But because Joe knew how desperately we needed his income, he told me that he planned on deceiving his company by telling them that he had every intention of making the move. I tried to explain to him how offensive his plans of deception might be in God's sight, but there didn't seem to be any way to dissuade him. So I immediately began praying that the Lord would intervene, and prevent my husband from making a terrible mistake that could have serious consequences. Shortly afterwards, my husband was informed by his employer that he would not be offered an opportunity to relocate, but that he would still have a job until the company moved the following year. When my husband shared these new developments with me, he confessed that he felt as though a heavy burden had been lifted off his shoulders. And he was greatly relieved that the Lord had made a way of escape for him, when he had been sorely tempted to sin.
This experience is one of the best examples of God's promise in First Corinthians 10:13 that I have ever witnessed. Scripture says: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." When I saw my husband faced with the overwhelming temptation to do the wrong thing, I immediately turned to the Lord in prayer, asking Him to rescue Joe from making a mistake that could have irreversible, far-reaching consequences. And the Lord was "faithful" to provide the "way of escape" for my husband. Praying for a way of escape in a tempting situation is not cowardly - it's smart. And it's scriptural. Not only should we pray for an avenue of escape for ourselves, but we should do the same for others around us who might be tempted to sin. Even if we cannot influence these people with our words, we can enter into a partnership with the Lord through our prayers, to provide these folks with a way out.
One of the things that really helps me when I am faced with temptation is the Bible's assurance that I am not alone in my struggles. One translation of the above verse says, "Remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience." (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT) This can be a tremendous comfort to us when we are tempted to think that we are the only ones struggling with sin, or that we are somehow being singled out by Satan and his cohorts. The apostle Peter assures us that this is not the case, when he writes: "Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that Christians all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are." (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT) Because our brothers and sisters in Christ are undergoing the same trials we are, we can turn to them for prayer support and words of encouragement, and we can offer them the same help in their own times of need.
As long as we are on this earth, and in these fleshly bodies, we will constantly be subjected to trials and temptations. But God has equipped us for victory, and if we will use His strategies against the enemy, He has promised that we will prevail. May this precious promise from the Lord encourage your heart today - "No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He'll never let you be pushed past your limit; He'll always be there to help you come through it"! (1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG)
Lord, whenever I am faced with temptation, remind me that You have promised to provide me with a way of escape. Help me to always look for it, and to take advantage of it, so that I can be the overcomer that You have called me to be. Teach me how to pray for those around me, who may need my prayers to help them walk in victory. Thank You, Lord, that by Your grace, power, and mercy, I shall prevail!
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