Monday, February 10, 2014

Way of Escape

No temptation has overtaken you but such as it common to man;
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.

I Corinthians 10:13

God is faithful, amen?

This is a great verse to put to memory - very useful in times of struggle, wouldn't you say?  Work through it phrase by phrase to marinate in its truths:
  • Temptations you face are not unique - Satan doesn't have some new tactic he's using on you and your sin nature isn't so special that no one has ever faced what you are facing - so quit feeling sorry for yourself and realize that others deal with the same issues
  • God is faithful - He doesn't change - He's exactly what He has always been and always will be - this is a remarkable truth in light of how much we humans change on a regular basis
  • God is allowing the temptation - yep, that's right!  He's involved, He's overseeing it and He knows your capabilities - trust that He's in this with you, has a purpose for it and knows you will not be overtaken by it
  • With the temptation is the way of escape - don't stop there...the Y in the road is not a choice of staying in the temptation or getting out - it is falling to the temptation or enduring it!  This is a huge difference - the road is still within the temptation but God provides the way to endure it
So what exactly is the way of endurance?  Obedience and faithfulness.  Know what God wants you to do - imitate Jesus - and be faithful, even when you don't feel like it.  When faced with the choice of doing what your flesh wants and what Jesus wants, which will you do?  Many, many times we have to put aside our feelings and walk by faith - this is sanctification at its most crucial point.  The way of escape is always obedience to the Lord but there is an underlying assumption here - that you know what God wants you to do and the only way to know is to be in His Word.  And if you truly don't know what He wants or where to find it, then phone a friend who knows and go from there.  The fact that God ALWAYS provides the way of escape means that His Word is sufficient for all needs, but it takes elbow grease to find that escape.

One of my favorite truths taught from the story of Daniel, who continued to pray three times a day even after the king made the edict that no petitions could be made to anyone but himself and found himself in a den filled with lions because of it, is:  you cannot have success in the crisis until you have success in the process.  Now you might be thinking, success does not equal lion's den for me.  But the truth still stands.  Daniel continued doing something that he had already made a habit.  Spiritual disciplines that are habitual in our lives will be what carries us through the hard times.  I am sure his discipline of prayer continued even in the lion's den and what was the conclusion of that story?  Miraculous salvation, right?

So determine now, before the crisis or before the temptation hits, to know God through His Word and see how the Lord reveals that way of escape that leads to successful endurance in the midst of the hard times.  Phoning a friend is an option, but rather than trying to develop a spiritual discipline in the midst of the crisis, today when the sea is calm and all is right, choose to seek after and follow the Lord so that in the midst of the storm, His figure is recognizable!

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