In our last blog, Conqueror or Conquered, Part 1 we discussed three ways to “escape” when we are tempted in different situations: Be radical, flee, and avoid the temptation in the first place. There are also other means that God has provided “to make a way out.”
For example, we are to overcome evil with good. Paul says to never let evil get the better of us; we should get the better of evil by doing good. For instance we’re never to take vengeance into our own hands, which is certainly tempting, but instead we are to let God’s wrath have its way since vengeance belongs to Him and He will repay in His own way and timing. So what do we do to overcome the evil done to us? If our enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. *Rom.12:19-20*
Another means of escape is to keep watch and pray: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Mt.6:13, NIV). Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray so that they would not enter into temptation and yield to it. And how necessary it is to keep watch and to pray so that we do not become surprised and overcome by temptation! Jesus told His disciples that their spirit may be willing but the flesh is weak. The apostle Paul advises the spiritual men in the Galatian church to gently set right a brother who is detected in some sin. And at the same time they are to watch out for themselves “lest they be tempted” as well. *Mt.26:41; Gal.6:1*
When temptation is from the Satan, we are to yield ourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from us. But again we need to be watchful because this adversary prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Peter says to resist him, firm in our faith, knowing that other Christians throughout the world are experiencing the same afflictions and sufferings. *Ja.4:7; I Pe.5:8-9*
Satan can also masquerade as an angel of light, and his “servants” can appear as ministers of righteousness. We are to wear all the armor that God provides so that we can successfully stand against such schemes and strategies. For example, we are to take up faith for our shield so that we will be able to extinguish all the flaming darts that the enemy hurls at us; for instance, those kinds of ignited missiles that urge us to fulfill natural desires in a wrong way, or thoughts that lead us to be careless or complacent, or ignited darts that engender false ideas about God and the truth. And we need to remember that as in the case of Jesus, when the devil had exhausted every kind of temptation, he departed from Him “until an opportune time” (Lk.4:13, RSV). The devil will bide his time until other occasions present themselves. *II Cor.11:13-15; 2:11; Eph.6:11,16*
So, in any kind of temptation we face what should we do first? We should ask for wisdom to know the “way to escape”—the way out so that we will be able to bear it. After James told his readers to count it all joy when they face various trials and temptations since the trying of their faith could ultimately lead to maturity and being perfectly equipped, he then says, “If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you” (Ja.1:5, GWT). May we all have that wisdom so that, like the Psalmist, we can declare, “When I said, ‘My feet are slipping,’ your mercy, O LORD, continued to hold me up” (Ps.94:18). *I Cor.10:13*
Can you think of any other of God’s ways to escape temptation’s lures?
By Ed Dudek