Jump Start # 3014
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you but such is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”
When I was growing up, there was a cartoon called “Snagglepuss.” He was a colorful lion that got himself into all kinds of trouble. He had a common expression, “Exit Stage Right” and off he’d go. I thought about ole’ Snagglepuss when I read this verse the other day.
Layered within this verse are many lessons that help us when we get ourselves into trouble. There is nothing unique that you go through. It may be the first for you, but not in the history of mankind. Temptation is common. And, what temptation is, is Satan knocking on the door of our hearts. He doesn’t bust in. He doesn’t knock the door down. He knocks. He tempts. He distorts. He lies. He blinds us to consequences. Jesus was tempted, yet Jesus never sinned. You can’t keep Satan off your front porch. He’ll knock. He’ll knock and knock. He hopes that you’re get so tired of him knocking that you’ll open the door. And, when the door is opened and when Satan comes in, that’s when sin takes place. That’s when we disobey God. That’s when we turn our backs on the Lord. That’s when we become more interested in what Satan offers than what God says.
But even in the temptation, God is there. God will provide a way of escape. You don’t have to answer the door and invite Satan in. There are better ways. There are God’s ways. “Exit Stage Right,” is what we need to see.
Now, some thoughts:
First, the way of escape is not always easy. The easy way is to just open the door and let Satan in. That’s easy. Resisting can be hard. Saying “no,” can be hard. For Joseph, it was running away from Potifar’s wife. For David, it would have been listening to his commander when he questioned him about numbering all the people. A door was there, David didn’t take it. Young Timothy was told to “fight the good fight of faith.” Fights are dangerous. They are hard. Whether you are fighting error, resisting temptation, or standing up for what is right, battles are tough.
Second, the way of escape is not always what we want. Too many times, we want what Satan is selling. That’s why it is a temptation. He knows us. He pulls on our heart strings. Doing right isn’t based upon nor determined by what we want. We want things that are easy. We want things that makes us happy. What we want can often be dangerous, unhealthy and even wrong. God provides a way of escape. But some don’t want to escape. They want to stay right where they are. They like Satan knocking on the door of their heart. They want to see what the temptation is like. It takes some “get-up-and-go” to use God’s way of escape. Effort is involved.
Third, we must keep our eyes opened for the way of escape. Whenever you fly, before the plane takes off into the sky, you are given a series of instructions. The doors of escape, or, exit, are pointed out to you. In public buildings, including our church buildings, doors of exit are easily seen by lighted signs. The temptations that we face are not like an iron prison in which no one can escape. God is providing. It’s not us, but the Lord who gives us these doors of escape. But to escape successfully, we must be looking for those doors. The doors of escape are the direction that the Lord wants us to follow.
So all of this tells us that when a person says, “I couldn’t help it,” that’s not really true. He could. There was a way to escape, he just didn’t look for it. No one has to sin. No one is forced to sin. No one can say that there was no other option. Simply not true.
Finally, once the temptation passes, and they always do, you’ll be left standing with either the door of your heart wide open and Satan having gone through your heart and made a mess, or, you’ll be standing with the Lord having gone through a door of escape. Trashed or safe? Guilty or righteous? Weak or strong? Choices. Choices we all make and choices we all face when temptation comes knocking.
Exit, stage right! Good advice from an old cartoon. Better wisdom, from the Lord.