Author: Ron Graham
How God Helps the Tempted
—Three Things God Does
We need not feel rejected or guilty when we are tempted. Rather we can feel closer to God, since he knows how to rescue the godly out of temptation and he is a very present help in trouble.
¶“12Well may you think that you stand secure with God. Nevertheless, take care that you don't fall. 13No temptation has seized you except what people commonly experience. And God is worthy of your trust. He won't let you be tempted more than you are able to bear. Rather, when you face the tempter, God will enable you to bear it by providing the way to escape” (1Corinthians 10:12-13).
1 God Stands By the Tempted
God does not forsake us when we are tempted. He comes to our aid and gives us succour —the help we need to endure and overcome. Paul says, "God is faithful" which means we can trust God not to let us down or abandon us when we need him most (1Corinthians 10:13).
So this is the first thing God does: he stands by us and with us in our struggles. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)
Jesus Christ is our Faithful High Priest, a powerful friend who can help when we are tempted. "For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted" (Hebrews 2:17-18).
2 God Limits Satan’s Attack
The second way that God helps us in temptation is very reassuring. "God won't let you be tempted more than you are able to bear." (1Corinthians 10:13). God not only stands by us faithfully, but he takes charge of us. His policy is intervention. He does not allow Satan to play upon our lusts more than we are able to resist.
We are expected to resist the devil. James says, "Submit to God —resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7-8).
God is in charge, not the devil, and that's why the devil cannot overpower you. In the Bible, this is called the binding of Satan. There's a passage in Revelation about this...
¶“1Next I saw an angel coming down from heaven. He held in his hand the key to the bottomless pit. He also held a great chain. 2The angel seized the dragon, who is the ancient serpent, the devil, also known as Satan. The angel bound him for a thousand years, 3throwing him into the great pit. The angel shut the pit and sealed it over the dragon. This was so the nations might not believe his lies anymore, until the thousand years were finished. After that he must be released for a little while” (Revelation 20:1-3).
¶“4Next I saw thrones. Seated on them were those bestowed with authority to judge. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded1 for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God —those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ one thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).
In this vision, the pit and the chain represent Christ’s power to absolutely stop Satan from tempting us, should the temptation be too hard for us to bear. We may think our temptations are too great, but they are not. We can bear them with Christ’s help —otherwise God would put the lid on them.
1Note:— Revelation 20:4. One does not have to be actually beheaded in order to take part in the “thousand year” reign. We can all enjoy the power to resist the devil because he is bound and Christ is with us. The martyrdom in the vision represents a commitment so solid that one stands ready to be killed rather than give up the testimony of Jesus by yielding to Satan. Not every Christian is a martyr in reality, but every Christian must be a martyr at heart.
3 God Provides a Way to Escape
Now we come to the third way God helps the tempted. He makes a way out. The devil is not allowed to hem us in. Should he try to block our way past the temptation, God will restrain him so we can reach safety. God provides the way (1Corinthians 10:13).
This assures us that we can march forward and pass temptation by rather than being ambushed. We can trust God’s providence to make something happen or have something available that enables us to avoid sin.
Sometimes the way of escape is found in things God has always enabled us to do. For example...
- 1. You can pray. "praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 1:20-21). Remember how Jesus prayed before his crucifixion. If it is possible to pray while under temptation, it will be nearly impossible to sin while sincerely praying.
- 2. You can use scripture. Jesus said, "Get behind me Satan!" and he accomplished that by quoting scripture, "For it is written..." (Luke 4:1-13). God’s word is your sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). Thrust it at Satan, and he'll get out of your way.
- 3. You can testify. If God provides an opportunity, you can confess that you are a Christian and testify that Jesus is Lord of your life and you choose to obey him. (Matthew 10:32). This may cause you discomfort, but it could make it easier for you to avoid sin.
God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, help the tempted. God does not tempt us but he is involved when we are tempted, standing by us, limiting Satan’s power, and providing a way to escape. Believe this and be encouraged!