9 August 2020 (Trinity Ninth Sunday Morning Prayer) 1 Corinthians 10:13
In the past few weeks, we meditated about salvation, inheriting eternal life with Jesus in the kingdom of heaven and the authority to call Him Abba Father. This week, I would like to meditate on a verse from our epistle reading, 1 Corinthians 10:13. I would like to read the verse for you. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”. Paul talks about three things in this verse. 1) Temptation what we have is common to man. 2) Temptation is limited to our ability. 3) Temptation is not the end but God will make a way for us to escape. I would like to meditate a few things about trials, temptation and overcoming temptation.
WHAT IS TRIAL AND TEMPTATION?
Trials and temptations are common in all our lives. We should know the difference between these two according to our Holy Bible. Something that influences us to commit sin is temptation. The process of trying someone is trial. We are very familiar with the first temptation. God created angels to praise and worship Him. The Archangel faced temptation to exalt himself above God the Father. He committed sin against God. He Adam and Eve to sin against God.
Let us look at the temptation and sin of a couple of people from the Bible who yielded to temptation.
Temptation and sin of Adam and Eve: When God created Adam and Eve, He told them not to eat the fruit from the tree of life. We read the commandment in Genesis 2:16&17: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. The fallen angel knew about the commandment given by God the Father. He spoke with Eve and tempted her to separate the first humans from the presence of God. When the LORD God gave the commandment, He was referring to spiritual death.
Although God gave this commandment to Adam before Eve was created, Eve was aware about the commandment. But when the fallen angel told Eve that they will not die but their eyes would be opened and live like Gods, she thought that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise. So she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Both Adam and Eve fell into the temptation. They disobeyed God and sinned against God by breaching the law and commandments.
Temptation and sin of David: David’s army went to battlefield. Instead of leading his army in the battlefield, the king was in his court. When he was walking on the roof, he saw a woman bathing. He committed sin with her and killed her husband to cover up his sin. David walking on the roof was not sin. But seeing a woman who was bathing and lusting after her was sin. The lust of his eyes fought against his flesh and overcame him. David yielded to temptation and committed sin against God. He breached the commandments given through Moses.
Let us look at a few people from the Bible who did not yield to temptation and commit sin.
Abraham: We read about the temptation faced by Abraham in Genesis 22. God blessed Abraham with Isaac in his old age. God promised Abraham to make him father of nations. Genesis 22:1 says that God tempted Abraham and asked him to sacrifice his promised son Isaac. Abraham had faith in God and did not yield to temptation.
Joseph: We are familiar with Joseph. Joseph ran away when he faced temptation. Joseph was thrown in the prison although he fled from temptation. But we read in Genesis 39: 2 that the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man.
Job: God challenged about Job’s righteousness. Job was tested. He lost his everything. But Job said, “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all that Job did, he did not sin or charge God foolishly. At the end Job received everything back with double portion.
Jesus: We all know that Jesus overcame temptations in the wilderness. The tempter came to Jesus and tempted Him when Jesus was hungry. Jesus did not yield to the temptation but overcame by the word of God.
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME TRAILS AND TEMPTATION?
We know that the devil or the fallen angel is the tempter. When the fallen angel tempted Eve and Jesus, he used the word of God. The first Adam fell into sin and passed sin onto the next generations. The second Adam Jesus Christ overcame temptations in the wilderness and broke the chain. He shed His precious blood on the cross for the remission of sins. Jesus spoke the word of God to overcome temptation.
We are called to follow Jesus’s example. He himself suffered when He was tempted so He is able to help those who are being tempted.
First, we are to watch and pray. Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever”.
Second, we have to wear the armour of God. Ephesians 6:16-18 urges us “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
Third, when we fall into sin, we are to repent and ask for forgiveness. When king David yielded to temptation and sinned against God, he humbled himself and looked up to the God for forgiveness.
All of us face trials and temptations. Mark 14:38 says that the flesh is weak. This is a reason we quote when we commit sin. But 1 John 2:16 says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Temptation itself is not sin, but by yielding to temptation we commit sin. Temptation is the first step and the root for sin. Temptation fights with the flesh and induces us to commit sin. Archangel yielded to temptation and committed the first sin. Adam and Eve listened to the fallen angel and yielded to temptation. David was tempted when he saw the woman and was filled with lust. The lust led him to commit sin. James 1:14 says, “every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
Abraham, Joseph and Job did not yield to temptation. Abraham became the father of nations. Joseph became the governor. Job was rewarded with double portion. Jesus overcame temptation with the word of God. Temptations that lead us to commit sin comes from the tempter and not from God. James 1:13 says “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”. Temptations that come from God refine them to make them pure as gold. Malachi 3:3 says, “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness”. God tests us to refine or purify us and to separate us for Him. God’s testing makes us refined gold and silver but the devil’s temptation makes us to commit sin against God and separates us from His presence.
Galatians 5:16 says we are called to walk by the Spirit and not gratify the desires of the flesh. When we are true to this call, we will inherit the blessings He has in store for us. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we have a promise that God is faithful and will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able. He will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it. James 1:12 promises: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him”.
2 Peter 2:9 says, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations”. Let us not yield to temptation but overcome them with God’s grace and inherit the crown of life. Amen!