1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Jack and Jim were madly in love. They had each met the girl of their dreams, and though they lived in different cities and different states, their stories will be an eye-opener to the novice as well as the mature followers of Christ.
These men both eventually married the girls they had chosen. During the first months, their lives were lived in complete bliss. Neither had ever dreamed it possible that such a wonderful, kind, caring person as their wife could exist on planet earth. Their dreams had been fulfilled. No one would ever dare steal what God had given them!
As in most marriages, Jack and Jim both experienced ups and downs, and their busy lives kept them from spending much quality time with their wives; however both remained passionately in love.
Eventually both men were accosted by the temptations of life that many men face. Jack thought that there was nothing wrong with admiring God's beautiful creations embodied in the opposite sex. Jim veered away from such temptations, for he felt that even looking would bring hurt to his wife.
One day, Jack was alone with a cute young woman who obviously had her eye on him. He thought of his beloved wife, alone at home, preparing supper for the two of them, but he quickly set this thought aside. How would she ever find out if he had a little "affair" with this young woman? And even if she did, he was sure that her enormous love for him would make it possible for her to forgive him. He still loved her passionately, but men are men, and who in their right mind could refuse such an offer?
Jack did what seemed inevitable, and this little affair blossomed far beyond what he had expected. His thoughts started to be consumed with this new passion and he had a hard time concentrating at work and at home.
Jim was also attracted to the beauty of a new employee, but he quickly dismissed the temptation. He feared that any lusty thoughts would eventually break the tender relationship he had with his wife. He could never imagine living without her. How could he even imagine hurting her in any way? He made sure to never be alone with that new employee and whenever tempted, he quickly forced his attention on the hurt it would cause his wife. His love for his wife came first, above anything else in the world. He'd rather quit his job than hurt his spouse.
Just like any sin, Jack's affair was eventually made public, and to his horror, his beloved wife filed for divorce. He was devastated. He tried to make amends, but she stood firm. Jack's life seemed to have come to a bitter end.
What a contrast between these two men. Jack's love for his wife could not keep him from flirting with disaster. However Jim's love and his desire to not hurt his wife kept him in line.
God's Word often compares our relationship with God to married life: "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready." (Rev 19:7 NIV)
Just like Jack, our love for God may not be enough to prevent us from falling into habitual sin. How often believers flirt with sin, believing their love for the One who died for them would prevent them from actually falling into such traps. Besides, if they did get caught up in the traps of sin, Jesus' grace was abundant enough to come to their rescue and to forgive them, wasn't it? So they eventually fall into sin and live lives trapped up in their addictions (sin is addictive!)
When tempted, I try to immediately paint an image in my mind of Jesus suffering on the cross for me. His unbelievable love and confidence in me and my desire to not hurt Him or be separated from Him motivates me to stay on the right path. Solely by relying on God can I can withstand temptation. As today’s verse says…
"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."
And so can you. Make it your goal today to not put yourself into circumstances that will cause you to fall.
Dear Lord, thank You for being there for us. Help us turn to You when faced with a temptation so that we with You may be able to stand against it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.