Covid lockdown motivated some people to adopt healthier eating habits and lose a ton of weight. Then there’s the rest of us. Whether it’s due to boredom, easy access to food, or a renewed interest in baking, we seem to have located the pounds others have lost. If you’re like me, and you feel stalked by temptation (whether it’s food or something else), take heart. God has already made a way out.
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.1 Cor. 10:13*
The term “a way out” in Greek means an egress, or an exit. If there’s something or someone you just can’t seem to resist, stop and look up. There’s a giant EXIT sign blinking ahead of you. It’s the way of escape God promises, and the Holy Spirit is waiting to usher you out.
The verse above gives us some important keys about temptation and how to escape it.
Key #1 No temptation is unique.
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.
We are not alone in facing various temptations. Temptation is part of the human experience. Whatever urge or habit you face, there is someone who understands and can empathize. Scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way, (yet without sin). He knows and has compassion for what we go through (Heb. 4:15).
Key #2 God is in control of the process.
And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.
God promises not to allow temptation that’s too strong for us to resist. He doesn’t tempt us (James 1:13), but He may allow the temptation to test and strengthen our faith. Nevertheless, He’s still in control. Everyone we see, everything we do, and all that we think about is under His watchful eye. Our part is simply to trust that He will not give us more than we can handle, and He will deliver us. We don’t have to figure out how to deliver ourselves.
Key #3 We won’t see the exit sign until we’re tempted.
When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
This key is easy to overlook. God doesn’t give us a one-size-fits-all exit strategy. Each temptation has its own particular way out – one that doesn’t show up until you’re tempted. It’s a little like the slide that deploys on an airplane. It doesn’t inflate until the passengers need to evacuate. In an emergency, the exit signs will light up and the flight attendants will usher you down the slide. Likewise, when you’re tempted, God’s plan will illuminate your spirit and the Holy Spirit will lead you to safety.
Key #4 Our part is to move away from the temptation.
This seems obvious, right? But it’s amazing how often we pause to flirt with temptation just a teensy bit longer. Scripture warns us not to “give place to the devil” (Eph. 6:13). The longer we flirt with sin, the harder it is to resist. The exit door is most clear to us and most easily reached right at the beginning of the temptation, before our imagination and the devil have a chance to take hold.
If you’re struggling, remember that no matter how big the temptation is, Christ is bigger still. Trust God to provide you with a way of escape, and look to the Holy Spirit to guide you toward it.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.James 1:12
*Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.