Preparation For Battle
Read 1 Corinthians Chapter 10
1Co 10:13 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.
No, today’s topic will not be on our ability to withstand temptation. We’ve covered that in other devotionals. Let’s take a long look at temptation itself, contemplating some of its effects on our lives. Before we examine this specific verse, let’s set a backdrop for it through the following verses.
Mk 14:38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
Lk 22:40 On reaching the place, He said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
Lk 11:4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.
I believe we can easily conclude, based on these three verses, that temptation is not a good thing. Jesus more than once warned His followers of the dangers of temptation. In addition, in the Lord’s Prayer, He advised us to pray, “And lead us not into temptation.” Of course, we already know that temptation is a bad thing and is something we should attempt to avoid with whatever means we have at our disposal. Yet, we know that there will be times when temptation seems to follow us around like a shadow on a sunny day. Jesus knew that too. He knew that each of us would face many temptations in the course of our walk on this earth. That brings us to the verse in 1 Corinthians.
Knowing that there would be some temptations which are unavoidable, God gave us some wisdom on the subject through the writings of Paul. We are promised that we will be provided a way to resist it when it comes. But again, that is not our subject today. Instead, we will think about some of the good things that can come out of our confrontation with temptation. Good things? How can anything good come from temptation?
1. It provides us with an opportunity to please our Father. Do we not know that God was very pleased when Job stood strong against temptation when all of his worldly possessions were destroyed and he lost all of his sons? Yes, God was very proud of His son, Job.
2. It gives us a chance to choose wisely. We think a lot about how it gives us an opportunity to choose wrongly. But the opposite is also true. When we choose wisely and resist temptation, it gives us strength for the next test, and we can build strength upon strength. We can reduce our vulnerability to temptations by our consistent victories over it.
3. It gives us an opportunity to express our love for our Savior. We can weigh out what or who we love most – God or our flesh. Every temptation is a chance to prove our loyalty to Christ.
4. Without temptation, there really is no opportunity to experience victory. In sports, there is great joy in winning a game. If no game is played, there is no victory. The joys of overcoming temptation and sin are enormous. Our battles with temptation often leave us tired, spent from our wrestle match. But we can look at it differently. We should allow ourselves to sense the glorious pleasure of having defeated our enemy. It may only be one battle in a long war, but there is joy in victory nonetheless.
As we face our personal temptations, let us try to see them as chances for victory and joy, not as more “Oh no” moments. We are much more likely to win our battles if we develop a more positive attitude before and during the time of temptation.
Prayer: Lord, we are such negative creatures. Most of us simply haven’t learned to look at situations from a positive standpoint. Certainly I am guilty. Help us to be better prepared to face our temptations, looking for victory. And Oh yes, led us not into temptation. Thank You.