“You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIRV).
The way out
In 1 Corinthians 10:13 it is written about when we are tempted and that God gives us a way out so we can endure it. How hopeful it is that we have a God who measures each temptation so we can bear it! God has a way out for us in every single temptation. The way out is to go to the throne of grace and pray for grace in time of need; in other words, before we give in to the temptation. Then we have God’s promise that we will get the grace, which is strength and help at the right time, so we can stand after we have overcome all things. (Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 6:13.)
In 1 Corinthians 10:13 it doesn’t say that God gives us a way out of temptation so that the temptation goes away; no, it is written that He gives us the way out so that we can endure the temptation. He has promised us the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us so we can bear the temptation. It is the same eternal Spirit that gave Jesus strength when He was a human being with a human nature like us, making it possible for Him to offer Himself to God as a Lamb without any imperfection. (Hebrews 9:14.)
Such a way out makes it possible for us to not give in to the temptation. But then we must choose to say No to our sinful desires, and this means that we have to suffer. This suffering is called to suffer in the flesh (1 Peter 4:1). By nature, we would rather not suffer in this way, but hope that God would take the temptation away from us. But that is not what is written. In the old covenant Israel thought like that; and therefore they lost their opportunity to enter and conquer the Promised Land. When they chose to avoid the situation that God had planned for them, they also chose to give away a great victory over their enemies. What they in fact chose was to walk in the desert around their enemies for forty years.
Go right through your enemies!
Our enemies in the new covenant are the sinful desires in our human nature. What is the way around our enemies? If I choose to avoid a situation that God has planned for me, I choose to go around my enemies. Maybe I stay in the specific situation, but as long as I allow negative thoughts about the others, unthankful thoughts, thoughts that judge the others or make demands on them, I choose to walk around my enemies.
The truth is that my “enemies” live in my own sinful nature and this has nothing to do with other people or my circumstances. Maybe an excuse comes up so that our flesh, our sinful nature, does not have to suffer, and then these thoughts come up: “The others are the problem!” When I, by God’s grace, choose to say No to negative, unthankful, and judging thoughts that make demands on the others, then I see clearly that it is in fact my own sinful nature that is the problem. Then I go right through my enemies into the Promised Land.
Let’s not follow Israel’s example. Let’s rather choose God’s way out when we are tempted—the way out where I endure the temptation and get power to say No to the temptation so I can be finished with my enemies—finished with sin! (1 Peter. 4:1.) It is clear that there will be suffering but this is only for a short while. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18.) And this is exactly when I can get finished with that specific sin! This is when I can be finished with my enemies, finished with suffering under their control, instead of walking around and around them year after year without end.
Which suffering is greater, do you think? The apostle exhorts us that “we have to go through troubles of all sorts to come into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22 (BBE). Yes, through many troubles, not around many troubles. Then we come into the kingdom that is filled with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
May God powerfully strengthen us to choose the right way out when we are tempted, the way that goes through troubles, not around them. God has made this way out of all unrighteousness, unrest, and unhappiness! Blessed is each and every one who makes use of it.