In Kate’s post “If your Happy and you know it, Look Out” she did a great job talking about how temptation can hit us just when things are going well in our marriage. I wanted to dive a bit deeper specifically for husbands wondering how we should handle temptation that comes our way!
A few months back I attended a funeral for the parent of a friend of mine. At the end of the service I was making my way through the very long receiving line when I heard it, the most misquoted verse in the Bible! It can be found at almost every funeral and tragedy! Someone always tells the grief stricken family “God is with you, remember he will never give you more then you can handle!” There are two problems with this statement. First, it is a total misunderstanding of the scripture, and second it always sounds somehow accusatory, like telling the person to, “buck up and get over it. God said you could handle it!” But our society’s rudeness and fear of death is another subject entirely so I will get back on topic.
The scripture the “nice” person is quoting is actually 1 Corinthians 10:13, but what they are missing is the word tempted. “… God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (NKJV) It doesn’t say that nothing bad will ever happen, or that you will be able to handle it when bad does happen. Sorry those are not God’s promises! But don’t despair, because contained in this verse are three very important promises from God. Promises that every man should carry in his heart at all times!
1. Temptation will come!
Yes that is right, the fact that temptation will come is a promise from God, as a result of our sinful nature! Doesn’t that feel good to get that out in the open! The fact that we are tempted guys, that is completely normal. Why is it important to understand this? Because we need to recognize that temptation does not equal sin! The act of giving in to temptation is sin! Sometimes the line between being tempted and giving in to temptation can be crossed very easily but there is a line! Our challenge men, is to understand the difference and fight when temptation comes!
How do we know the difference between temptation and sin? I recommend reading Proverbs to get a great insight into this important question! I suggest that you read the whole book, but there is a great passage in chapter 7 that highlights temptation crossing into sin. In this passage, a prostitute is tempting “a youth who lacked judgment”. For 11 verses (10-21) she flirted, enticed, offered, and sweet talked to this young man then in verse 22 it says “all at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter…” Where was the line between temptation and sin? That’s right not till verse 22 when he followed. Now if he heeded Solomon’s advice he would have never traveled down that path toward temptation in the first place, he would have fled long before he hit the 11 verses of temptation. But let me be clear here, seeing this woman was not sin and hearing this woman’s enticement was not sin, lacking wisdom, yes, but not sin.
Why am I making such a big deal of this? Because men, we need to understand when we have been victorious, when we have “extinguish[ed] the flames of the evil one”. Let’s say for a moment that this young man didn’t follow the prostitute, that he ran for his life, he ran all the way home evading the sin. When he burst in his front door and told his wife that he was victorious over temptation do you think she would be happy for him? I think many men do not share temptations that occur in their lives because they are worried that their wives will view these temptations as sinful, even if what happened next was a victory! This is a problem because Satan uses this. Satan loves to breed guilt, even if you don’t deserve it. If you feel guilty about a victory over sin then he has a foothold to make you vulnerable for the next attack! Sharing the victory over temptation allows it to be in the light, and for you and your wife to celebrate the victory!
Promise number 2, tells us that we will never be tempted beyond what we can bear. This is a double edged sword promise! God basically says, “Watch out, as you get healthier the temptations they get harder!” That is the down side. But the positive is you have the power. You have the power to beat any temptation that comes your way. It is simply good to remember this, sear this into your hearts! Men when you feel the arrows of temptation hitting you repeat it to yourself! “God is faithful, he will not give me any temptation beyond what I am able to bear! After saying this to yourself a few times then you start watching for the miracle of promise 3!
God does better than just saying “I will help you” he promises to give you an out! God promises to “make a way of escape” when Satan brings temptation! This is one of my favorite promises in the whole Bible! Why? Because it is one of the promises that I get to see in action right before my very eyes! God’s exit ramp appears and leads away from the temptation! How will it happen? Maybe it is the worship song that pops in your head, maybe it is the scripture verse, maybe it is the internet mysteriously not working for 5 minutes, and maybe it is an interruption in the temptation. How ever it happens it is God’s exit ramp! Men when you are tempted start searching for it! You can rely on this promise of God. Feel temptation, look for the exit! Ignore the exit, and it will fly right by! Once you tune yourself to search for it you will see it and rejoice! You will not only get out of the temptation but you will have just witnessed God performing a miracle for you! How awesome is that!
Feel bold? Share a victory in the comments. Share a time when you were feeling tempted and God showed you the exit ramp!