“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
This is a great promise but it also has a great context. For instance, the previous verse says – “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he is standing firm take heed lest he fall.” The idea here is that sin will sneak up on us and entangle us and take us down if we are not on our guard. But if we are on our guard there is NO temptation that can overtake us because of God’s faithfulness to us. It is our faithlessness, not God’s faithfulness that gets us in a heap of trouble.
The context of this passage also suggests several things in particular that we need to be aware of:
1) Idolatry and cultural adaptation (verse 7) – It was true 2000 years ago and it is true today. We allow the culture to change us rather than us being cultural change agents. When we let our guard down we too often find ourselves mired in the things of this world. If we are not very careful then cultural things like TV, music, books, internet, etc will not only effect us but infect us.
2) Sexual immorality (verse 8) – We tend to think that our society is a very sexualized society but the truth is that EVERY society has been that way. It goes all the way back to Genesis 1:31 when God created the two sexes and said “This is very good.” The enemy has been on the attack ever since, taking something that was very good and trying to make a mess of it. And he has had a lot of success because we have not been on guard like we should be.
Verse 9 talks about testing the Lord. We often put ourselves in places and with people that create temptation. This is like playing with fire. And the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13 does not apply when we do this. Instead of trying to see how much we can get away with before God reacts, we should be investing our time and energy in the things that we know are pleasing to God. This does not mean becoming a hermit – but it does mean changing our mindset when it comes to the things of this world.
Why is this BRICK foundational? We live in a fallen world. We WILL be tempted. But if we are proactive about keeping our guard up and being intentionally dependent upon the faithfulness of God then there will always be a way of escape and we can be a courageous testimony to the glory of God.