Often in our Christian walk, we are confronted with temptations or trials. How we react may vary. Sometimes we think God is allowing us to suffer too much, or we may believe we are suffering unfairly. Occasionally we may feel that God is far from us and that there is no way out. At these moments when we face temptation, it is important to remember that God remains faithful.
I. THE LIMITS OF TEMPTATION
A. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we read that “no temptation has seized you except that is common to man.” Paul is reminding the Corinthian believers that they should not think that just because they live an upright life, conditions will always be favorable. The reality is that they will still face difficulties. Their trials and temptations will not be fewer than those experienced by their neighbors.
B. God puts a limit on temptation. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear. Christians can rejoice, knowing that the God in whom they trust will not allow the enemy to tempt them beyond what their strength can bear.
It is not God’s desire that human beings suffer. He does not cause temptation (see James 1:13). God may use circumstances to develop a person’s character according to His divine will (see 1 Peter 4:12, 13). When we are tempted, we should remember that God is not causing the temptation, but as He allows it, He can use this means for spiritual growth. For we know God will never allow temptations to be stronger than our ability to bear them.
II. THE WAY OUT
“. . . But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13). The phrase “a way out” indicates that for every temptation, God will provide an escape. This “way out” is not a way to avoid temptation, but by being grounded in God’s Word, we can avoid being overcome by sin.
Although God allows us to face trials and temptations, He prepares ways through which we may obtain victory and avoid sin. Jesus, our perfect example, found His “way out” in the Word of God (Luke 4:4, 8, 12). Christ’s followers may also rest in the assurance that they can escape the tempter’s snares by having a deep relationship with Jesus, the Living Word (John 1:1-3, 14). Christ is always ready and willing to free those who seek Him, and He will keep them from falling into sin (Ps. 9:9; 27:5; 41:1; 91:15; 2 Peter 2:9; Rev. 3:10).
There is no need for us to be overcome by Satan’s temptations. We have assurance in the Word of God that heavenly assistance is given to everyone who strives to overcome. Ellen G. White says, “All the temptations of Satan, Christ met with the word of God. By trusting in God’s promises, He received power to obey God’s commandments, and the tempter could gain no advantage. To every temptation His answer was, ‘It is written.’ So God has given us His word wherewith to resist evil.”1
"Temptation once resisted will give power to more firmly resist the second time; every new victory gained over self will smooth the way for higher and nobler triumphs." Ellen White My Life Today, 319.
III. TRUTHS WE CANNOT FORGET
We have seen that through the Word of God, we may find strength to resist temptation. When God promises He will give us a “way out,” there are two biblical truths we cannot forget.
A. Sometimes God chooses to help us by performing a miracle to instantly free us from temptation or tribulation, thus answering our prayer (Matt. 17:14- 18). But God has another “way out”— the miracle of strengthening us to face temptation and survive the difficult trials of our lives (2 Cor. 12:9, 10). White says, “Christ has made it possible for every member of the human family to resist temptation. All who would live godly lives may overcome as Christ overcame.”2
B. Sometimes we are tempted to think that because we believe in God, we should not face difficulties or that they should miraculously disappear when they surround us. But the reality is that everyone—Christians and non-Christians—face problems and temptations. How do these two groups differ in their response? Does being a Christian make a difference? Yes! The difference is that we have a God who is faithful even in the midst of trials, a God who will provide a way for us to bear any trial.
We have His assurance. White gives us this beautiful reminder: “Summon all your powers to look up, not down at your difficulties; then you will never faint by the way. You will soon see Jesus behind the cloud, reaching out His hand to help you; and all you have to do is to give Him your hand in simple faith and let Him lead you. . . . A great name among men is as letters traced in sand, but a spotless character will endure to all eternity. God gives you intelligence and a reasoning mind, whereby you may grasp His promises; and Jesus is ready to help you in forming a strong, symmetrical character.”3
God is always faithful, even in the midst of temptation. He will not allow us to face any temptation that can overpower us. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear. Through His Word, He gives us victory. He will never fail. Remember what Ellen G. White says: “Every promise in God’s Word is ours. . . . When assailed by temptation, look not to circumstances or to the weakness of self, but to the power of the Word. All its strength is yours.”4
1 Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, 181.
2 White, God’s Amazing Grace, 111.
3 Ibid., 81.
4 White, The Faith I Live By, 23.
Walter Romero is a pastor in Argentina, South America.