No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV*
For some reason, I always think of this verse in terms of temptations to do things: steal, lie, cheat, whatever. When the opportunity presents itself, God will make a way that might involve a literal running away from it.
I’ve been reading Joanna Weaver’s excellent book, Having a Mary Spirit, and in one chapter she shares the example of a woman who couldn’t stop drinking too much with her friends but who believed this verse.
God promised to make a way… but she couldn’t see it. So, smart and desperate as she was, she asked Him to show her. Once she recognized it, she was ready to seize it!
I believe the promise too, and rely on it, but this idea of asking Him to show me the escape route caught my attention. (Guess that makes me less than smart and less aware of my desperation!)
As this realization hit me, so did another: this works for temptations of attitude and self-focus too!
We tend to believe the lie that what happens inside us just “is” and while we may pray for release we think it’s up to God to change us. But as He retrains our minds, we do have a part to play. We have to cooperate, or to use Paul’s words, we have to bear what we can and to stand.
And we have to be patient with ourselves, as God is, when we mess up. We need to get up and go another round… or 20… until the fight is won.
Lately I’ve noticed that when the temptation comes, often so does a verse or part of a song: something to help me keep focus. When I’ve chosen the good thoughts, the bad faded away. I just hadn’t recognized these as escape routes!
Father, this is a big deal for me, because most of my temptations are those inner ones. Thank You for the promise of a way out. You know our weakness, and You are faithful to help us. I believe You want to strengthen us as we learn to rely on You. Help me do that. Help me recognize the mental temptations that come, and help me see—and take—the way out!