Testing and Temptation

Clyde White

Testing is Common

1 Corinthians10:5 But with most of them (Israelites in the Wilderness) God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust (greed) after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but 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.
1 Corinthians10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man;

If we look carefully at this passage and its context, we will come to understand specific things about our temptations and testings. First, they are common. Satan wants us to think we live in a bubble, and therefore anything that happens to us is unique to us alone. No one else can truly understand or sympathize with our struggles.

By thinking this way, we lose a lot. We lose the benefits from the experiences and victories of others around us. We do not acknowledge the fact that God is ready and prepared for whatever happens in our lives. And we will not be looking for the way of escape that God has already promised and provided.

When we think our test is new, different, and totally unique to us, then obviously we think this has caught God off-guard and at best He is going to have to scramble to get up to speed with our situation.

If God doesn’t already know all about our tests, then He ceases to be our rock and refuge to Whom we run for comfort, strength, and guidance. If God isn’t our rock and refuge in the time of trouble, where will we go for comfort, strength, and guidance? If we don’t, or won’t, turn to God we usually turn to ourselves, others, or philosophies.

Remember your trial, temptation, or test is not unique to you, alone. As a matter of fact, it is a very common transaction. The circumstance around that test may be different, but the test is the same. I don’t know of many things harder to believe than that fact, especially when a person is under a severe testing or trial.

If you are anything like most humans, you will think, “Why is this happening to me? There are lots of people who have done worse things than I have. Why don’t they have this trial, instead of me?”

As a general rule, trials, tests, and temptations do not come our way as punishment for a specific sin. (Please, before your mind sets that statement in stone, allow me to add there are times when trials, test and temptations are a result of personal sin, but that is not the subject of this lesson.)

1 Corinthians10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man;

It makes no difference whether this event is a result of personal sin, or simply because you are a human in a sinful world, we must remember that our testings are common.

Source of Temptation

It is important to understand the source of our tests and temptations. From where do these come?

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

In our passages, 1 Corinthians 10 and James 1, there are three different Greek words translated to English as tempt, test or some other derivative depending on your English translation. All except one of these words for tempt are basically the same, just different shades of meaning. Allow me to wrap them all up in a general definition.

Tempt (Greek)
To scrutinize; To put to proof; To entice; To discipline; Experience discipline or adversity

The one Greek word for tempt used in these passages that is different is used of God in James 1:13

James 1: 13 for God cannot be tempted by evil…”
Tempted (Greek)
Untried because not temptable

Wouldn’t it be nice to be in a condition of life where we were beyond the point of be tempted or tested? My friend, that is the theme of this whole passage! We can be in a state of mind in which we are not able to be tempted. We could see that fact, if we were willing to sit still long enough to examine the context, but that is the truth of the passage.

If we were totally controlled by the Holy Spirit at all times, then even though confronted with a test, it would be an opportunity for victory and not an example of defeat. Even though this state of mind is possible, it is not probable that any human would be totally yielded to the Holy Spirit at all times. None the less, we can have such victory in certain areas of our lives. This should be our goal, and our lives should be dedicated to achieving that goal.

Just having the knowledge of this truth, however, is not enough. We must experience every nuance of this truth over and over again, both in knowledge and experience, if we want it to become a reality in our lives. It is this point that, as they say in athletics, “the participants are separated from the spectators.”

We can’t take the time to explore all the wonderful truths found in these passages, because we must move on to new ground. We need to establish, from these passages, that God is not the agent bringing the tests into our lives. As we learn from other passages, God allows and uses many external forces to produce this proving and discipline of our lives.

In the situations referred to in this passage, the pressure comes from within the life of the one being tested. The reason the person is in the state of being tested, is because they are not using what God has provided for them to escape the testing.

God is in Control

1 Corinthians10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able

The pressure of each trial is under God’s control and it will never be more than we can handle. As with the fact that our temptations are common to humanity in general, this fact of not being allowed to be tempted beyond our ability to withstand, is also hard to believe with the natural mind only. I’m sure you would agree with that, right?

Many times, we feel that we are already beyond our strength and ability to withstand, and the test is still going on, and on, and on… In reality, we’re not tested beyond our ability no matter what the test may be. We just may not be willing to learn how to use the way of escape, or not be willing to draw on those abilities given to us by God.

We often think we are beyond our limit because we are looking at our natural resources rather than our spiritually gained resources. We do not allow ourselves to be motivated by the results of a test, properly endured. We are unwilling to see the benefit that comes at the end of the test.

We can take inventory of our natural strength, but we can’t see or understand the strength of the spiritually acquired resources. God knows the inventory we have of both the natural and Spiritual resources. He alone knows how much we can handle, and how much we cannot. God has promised, based on what He knows and Who He is, that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our abilities.

The first step in this victory is to, by faith, believe God and stop assuming that He misspoke. God does not lie! There will be a great personal victory in taking this first step of faith and believe that God will not allow us to be tested beyond our limit.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

God does not bring the tests, as we have already seen. However, according to Romans 8:28, God will use all things that come into our lives for our good. Therefore, even in the test, God wants to do more for us than simply remove the pressure.

We think that just having the pressure removed would be good enough, but then we do not think like God. God wants to make something spiritually wonderful of our lives. We naturally want a little more pleasure and a little more comfort. God wants to mold our natural being into the image of that Spiritual being we received at our New Birth.

One of the basic principles of training for any athletic event, is to develop a person so they can do things they don’t think they are capable of doing, at that time. To develop a person for such an endeavor, there must be pressure applied, and that pressure must be greater than the athlete thinks they can handle.

By applying such pressure, the athlete will discover that they can indeed handle it, or the added pressure will develop such ability over time and repetition. Time and repetition are two of most hated aspects of Spiritual growth and strength training, but two of the most needed.

In this Spiritual development program God allows the pressure to come, but it is controlled pressure for development; not destruction.

There is a Way of Escape

1 Corinthians10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but 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.

If we had the time, or had taken the time to study the previous context, we would have seen that Paul, among other things, presents the need for personal discipline. Certainly, if we are to escape from the clutches of tests and temptations, we must have a disciplined life socially, physically, spiritually and in all other ways. However, personal discipline alone does not provide the way of escape. Therefore, there must be Divine provision, appropriated by personal dependence. If we are going to be more than conquerors in the arena of testing, there must be at least three elements in our living:

  • Divine provision
  • Personal discipline
  • Personal dependence

All we need for any Spiritual experience must be and is provided by God. Humans have nothing within themselves that would allow them to even approach Spiritual living.

However, God does not force His provision on us. Over and over again, we are instructed to put down the works of the flesh and not let sin rule over us. These are acts of personal discipline. Even in the matter of personal discipline, God has provided strength for the task.

After we have done some house cleaning through personal discipline, then when the tests come, we must not rely on what we have done in the past. We must personally depend on God, at that moment, for His strength and provision to bear-up under the test.

Our human nature is of such, that it is very difficult to admit that we are not strong enough to fight our own battles. Therefore, we often resist and ignore the Divine provision, which in reality is God’s Own person. God’s person may be in the form of His Word, His Son and/or the Holy Spirit. All through the Old Testament the great men and women of faith have taught us that we very seldom turn to God as our source of strength, until all else fails. What a shame!

Psalms 62:7 In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, Though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

Too often, we must enter into severe testing before we really understand and claim God as our refuge and strength. The humiliation of testing strips away all human dependency, pride, and confidence in the things of the world, and then we have the opportunity to learn that God is enough.

This is a process and it takes repetition and discipline in order to develop Spiritual stamina.

To Be Like Him

God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble, but we very seldom discover that fact until everything else has been taken away. When we come to God with empty hands, and weak knees it is then we begin to discover that God can hold us up, make our way straight and supply our needs. God, Himself, is our way of escape and He allows us to go through pressures and tests so we can better know Him and become like Him.

Even though the proper results from the test are very valuable, God still will not allow us to be tested above what we are able to bear. Most Christians want out of their tests. We would just simply like them to go away. Our concern is not in the Spiritual benefit from such a test, but we are disturbed that the test has an adverse effect on our comfort in this sinful world.

We know that our tests or trials are common to all humans, yet most of us want special treatment, we want to be exempted from the trials. We should realize that these trials are a part of being human and God has promised to protect us from excessive pressure in those trials and God has promised to make a way of escape. Therefore, those facts should be exciting to us.

These trials plague everybody. Yet, as a Believer, these common things can be the very things that gives us a special relationship with God and a general victory in living.

I’m sure that these two facts will not make us run out to the Trial Superstore and buy a big bundle of trials! But knowing the Spiritual and physical benefits derived from properly enduring trials, should change our attitude from dread and fear to challenge and confidence. Then, when trials do come our way, we can rejoice! Not because of the trial, but because of the results of that trial.

The Apostle Paul put that truth this way.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

All that is good, but there is more.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

If we will allow God to do so, He will keep us from excessive pressure in our trials and make a way of escape, while all the time providing an exciting relationship with Himself and He will give us a Crown of Life when He returns to earth.

But there is still more.

1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory

If we will allow God to help us through our trials instead of blaming Him for them, our faith in so doing will be considered by God to be of greater value than a big pile of gold. Not only will our faith in allowing God to help in our trials be better than gold, that faith will bring praise, honor, and glory to God when Christ comes returns!

Old Testament Examples

We’ve seen what 1 Corinthians 10:13 says about temptation. Let’s take a quick look at what lead Paul (through the Holy Spirit) to write this.

1 Corinthians10:5 But with most of them [Israelites in the Wilderness] God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust [greed] after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but 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.

These examples were given by the Holy Spirit to us so we would have what we need to move through these daily testing and on to Spiritual victory. If you don’t want help from the Holy Spirit with your tests, then don’t pay any attention to these examples.

Many Christian are like those who are sort-of involved in sports. At a sport’s event there are those in the stands who are experts in all matters concerning that sport, let’s say football.

These sportsmen know all the facts of every major game since the ice age. These sportsmen really do know their football! They have read the books; they know the strategy; they have the play book memorized. In fact, these sportsmen could have called the plays better than the coach: they could have made the play better than the players! When they leave the stands, they will be heard to say, “We really beat the socks off of em today, didn’t we?” However, not one of them contributed to any part of the game, and if they had, they would probably have been carried off the field on a stretcher!

Many Christians are like these sportsmen. They know how to run the church; they know their doctrine; they know what should be done in each tricky situation. However, when it comes to the real activity of Christian living, they only have a theory and very little reality. Theory only helps when they are in the stands critiquing the game. However, what a player needs for the real game is the theory practiced over and over again until it become second nature.

We need to be disciplined and trained by our trials. We also need to have the God given examples stamped on our minds so we will know how and be able to play the game. Those two aspects of knowing how and being able are vastly different. These God given examples were recorded in the Old Testament for us so we will both know how and see how it is accomplished.

The enemies that confronted the saint-of-old were overcome in the same manner that we can overcome the enemies that face us, today. If we know them well, we can look to the God given examples and find direction to overcome our enemies in the heat of the battle.

I’ve watched quite few football games and have slept through even more. Therefore, with my vast knowledge of the game, I have concluded that it is quite easy to be a quarterback. If you are an astute student of football, as I am, you will have noticed that most quarterbacks wear a little armband. That armband has notations on it so he will know just what to do. All the quarterback has to do is look over to the sidelines so the coach can give him a signal. Then he looks at his armband, matches the coach’s signal with the notations on the armband and the rest is easy.

It’s ok to call me a lunatic, but before you become too vocal, remember, many Christians participate in spiritual warfare in a very similar manner.

A quarterback becomes a good quarterback not because of something strapped to his wrist, but because of hundreds of hours of discipline both mentally and physically. He has gone through test after test. Any quarterback that makes it look easy, does so because he has been through the trial of fire day in and day out for years, and he has learned from those trials. If a quarterback says “Boys! I don’t want to go to practice today because it might be a little hard.” We call that quarterback retired.

Quarterbacks become good quarterbacks because they learn the theory, they know their opponents, they know their team’s ability and they have learned from the tests and failures of the past. They do not become good quarterback, because they have a nice comfortable bench on which to sit while they are watching the game.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Those Old Testament saints fought against principalities, and powers and the spiritual host of wickedness in heavenly places. We too fight those same enemies, and we have victories for the same reasons as found in our God given examples.

We are also assaulted by these Spiritual forces, we are discouraged by them, and too often defeated by them, just as Israel was discouraged and defeated.

When we see how the saints of old trusted in God, held on to God’s promises, renewed their strength by faith, and then set about to diligently do what God set before them, those events become examples for us in the struggles and battles we face daily in life.

You are in this battle 24/7! This battle is won or lost around the breakfast table as well as behind the pulpit. We are under attack. We are not living in a beautiful, pleasant world designed for our enjoyment, and the quicker we get rid of that demonic idea, the better!

We’re on a battlefield, not in a recreation hall. We’re under attack. We are running a race that must be won. We are fighting a battle with a clever and ruthless enemy. His devices are well honed through centuries of practice. His strategies are very subtle, and we can easily fail. We need these Holy Spirit given examples.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but 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.

Take Heed

1 Corinthians10:5 But with most of them (Israelites in the Wilderness) God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust (greed) after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but 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.

The subject of this section is somewhat sandwiched by the account of the bad stuff that Israel did while in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:5-11), and the great promise of God concerning the testing and trials that come our way (1 Corinthians 10:13)

1 Corinthians10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

In preparation for a series of lessons I taught some time ago, I read some accounts of the Reformation. I had read most of those stories before, but as I refreshed them in my mind I was amazed, once again, at how many of the greatest and mightiest saints of the past have, at times, succumbed to temptations through the wiles of the devil.

There was Calvin. He had a sharp theological mind and developed a pattern for systematic Bible study that has been used for years. Yet, you would not have wanted Calvin as your pastor, because he was extremely stern in disposition, cold in his relationships, seemingly cruel in his dealings, and legalistic in his practices.

There was also Martin Luther with his robust faith and courage beyond measure. Luther could stand before emperors and kings to defend his faith without faltering. However, he could also be vulgar, angry, and totally human in his rage against his enemies, sometimes even fellow Believers in Christ.

I stand in awe of these men and many like them who have preserved the very existence of Christianity as we know it today. Yet they were human, just as we are. God used these and many like them in spite of their humanity.

So, the question of the day is “How is your Christian stability? Do not think that you have it made with little possibility of falling spiritually.”

In our Christian walk, we are up against tough ruthless enemies: the world, Satan, and our own nature. Any one of these enemies can trip us, and trap us. The greatest enemy we have, as far as temptation and failure is concerned, is our own nature.

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
James 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. 19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Most temptations come from within, from our human nature as we see in James 1:13-15. There are other sources of temptations as we see from other Scriptures. However, whatever the origin of the temptation, its effect on our Spiritual development can and will only be what we allow. Simply having a human nature is not an excuse for defeat spiritually, as we see in James 5:27 concerning Elijah.

Reasons We Fall

1 Corinthians10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man;

This type of Spiritual presumption is a bummer to real Christian living. Over and over again, we are warned in Scripture not to place confidence in the flesh or fleshly things.

There are many causes of this false presumption of a person’s ability to stand in the face of testing. Some of these causes are from without and some are within.

Shallow Convictions

We have a low opinion (whether expressed or internalized) of the value of Spiritual living. Our convictions are too shallow. No matter how high our opinion of the Christlike life may be, that high opinion falls short of its real value. Our personal value system is demonstrated by our enthusiasm and consistency in living for those values and defending them.

Allow me to illustrate. Do we really and truly believe that unless a person accepts Christ as their Savior, they will die and go to a Christless eternity in the Lake of Fire? Do we really and truly believe that, for the Believer, death is absence from the body and presence with the Lord?

Were the answers to those two questions a resounding “Yes! Yes!”?

If so, allow me to give a hypothetical illustration and ask you to respond within you own heart to its question.

If it were true that if a person was burned at the stake or hung on a cross for their faith in Christ, and through that martyrdom, one unbeliever would be won to Christ and saved from the fires of hell, would you be willing to give your life?

We often say that we wish we could be like the Apostle Paul. Well, if you have such a desire, then be it known that the Apostle Paul was willing to do just as our illustration presented, and more.

Romans 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,

Our faith in Christ does not require that we be burned at the stake or hung from a cross - yet! God does not ask such from many of his followers. However, Christ does desire something from each one who has put their faith and trust in Him as Savior. This request of Christ’s is far more difficult to grant than if He asked us to enter into martyrdom.

John 17:20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

We are not asked to give our lifeblood so the world will know about God’s love demonstrated in sending His Son as Savior of the world. Some of us would far rather give our bodies to be burned, than to give up our self-pride, to establish unity. As a matter of fact some, even this past week, were doing things and saying things that discouraged unity and promoted disunity in the local body and therefore in the universal Body of Christ.

Proverbs 6:16 These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

We have heard these facts so often and are so calloused to their truth and the love of God, that when this truth is spoken again from the Word of God, many turn away from it. Oh, may God help us to respond now, so we can be spared at the judgment! Can we place too great a price on heaven? Can we serve God too much? His Son gave Himself for our sins.

I fear that most of us have a very low opinion of the value of Spiritual living, and our convictions are too shallow. Our convictions are limited to what feels good to us, rather than what pleases God.

Casual Attitude Toward Sin

1 Corinthians10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

We have frivolous concepts of sin that will propagate presumptuous attitudes of self-sufficiency.

When we first came to know Christ as Savior, our hearts were so very tender, that we often shuttered at the slightest sin. New believers have a holy timidity, a reverent fear of offending God and sometimes that fear gets a little boisterous. What a fresh breath of Spiritual refreshment are the reactions of new believers!

But alas! Like the sensitive young plants of spring, they too soon become bruised and hardened by the hot winds of summer. It is so sad to see young tender Christians become calloused to the awfulness of sin.

Little by little, that tender heart is no longer startled by sins that once made the blood run cold. Now those same things are given only a passing glance. Little by little, we get used to sin and sinning.

At the first church we served, our house was next to a railroad track. In the beginning, the sound of the trains disturbed our activities and sleep. However, with the passing of time our senses got used to the sound, and we really didn’t even notice the noise.

I fear that sometimes our senses have been so abused that we accept sin as proper, even as righteous.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

If our opinion of Spiritual living is shallow, and our concept of sin is frivolous, we have destroyed the foundation upon which we can stand. Therefore, we are sure to fall! Some are, even now, trying to stand on shifting sand as though it were a solid rock.

Love of this World

1 Corinthians10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

A presumption of self-sufficiency in our worldly prosperity, or our passionate desire to have it, is another reason we fall.

1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

We could spend much time on this subject. However, for this lesson, I believe the Scriptures are sufficient for those who want to hear. And for those who do not want to hear, no amount of human words will penetrate such Spiritual deafness.

Allow me to add just these thoughts. This desire or lust has become normal for most American Christians. Therefore, we spurn the command of Scripture saying, “Having food and raiment… let us therewith be content.” If we cannot be content with the necessities of life, we will never be content even if we gain all the excesses of life. God does not condemn a person for being rich or striving to gain riches. God condemns our poor attitude toward what He has provided. God condemns the transfer of our love and allegiance from Himself to earthly things.

Pride

1 Corinthians10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Pride may very well be the mother of all reasons why we so easily fall when faced with temptations. When we are prideful, we think so highly of ourselves that we trust our ways rather than relying on God. Pride causes us to see ourselves as overly important and we desire to have complete authority over our life. We often question God’s plan and His purpose because they do not make sense to us. Surely we know better!

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
1 Timothy 3:4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.

How is your Christian stability? Are you relying on yourself, or on God?

We need to remember that testing and temptations are common. God knows what you are going through and He has provided a way of escape through every trial we might face. We must look for and depend on His provision. This requires knowledge of His word and time in prayer.

Don’t let pride, love of the world, or a casual attitude toward sin make you unable to stand against these testings. Trust God and believe what He has said.

Conclusion

As you think through the temptations you’ve experienced recently, consider these passages and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your life.

Hebrews 12:12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
Colossians 2:4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words… …8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ… …18 Let no one defraud you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
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