Facing Down Temptation

Pray:

Lord, thank You that You perfect all we commit to You. It is perfectly safe to leave everything in Your hands.

 

Read: 1 CORINTHIANS 10:1-13

[1] For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. [2] They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. [3] They all ate the same spiritual food [4] and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. [5] Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. [6]Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. [7] Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” [8] We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. [9] We should not test Christ, as some of them did-and were killed by snakes. [10] And do not grumble, as some of them did-and were killed by the destroying angel. [11] These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. [12]So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! [13] No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.

 

Reflect: What are the consequences of sin?

Paul now focuses on the theological problem at the heart of the Corinthians’ conduct: it is a sin against God to participate in pagan acts of worship. He turns to the Old Testament account of the Israelites in the wilderness, found in Exodus and Numbers, for an example.

The spiritual experiences of the Israelites have parallels with those of the Corinthians. The Israelites benefited from God’s care: they were “baptized” into God’s people, ate and drank God’s food, and experienced his presence (2-4). Verse 5 is the shocker: despite this care, the Israelites were struck down because of sin. Notice the relationship between the Israelites’ sins and the Corinthians’ conduct: the Israelites engaged in idolatry, their revelry involved food, and they tested God (7-10; cf. Exod. 32:1-6; Num. 25:1-9; 16:41).

Sin has its consequences and anyone who persists in sin will experience those consequences. Yet this passage ends with a promise. Your temptation is not new (13). Others have experienced it, too. Nor is it beyond the strength of God in your life. No matter how strongly you are tempted, there is a way out. You need to ask God to show you the way, and then take it.

 

Apply:

Ask God to show you the way out of temptation, and for his grace to strengthen you as you follow that way.

 

Pray:

Lord, You are the motivation of my heart. I want to live in the way that pleases You.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union, scriptureunion.org