“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
The devil isn’t all that original. He’s never created anything. All he’s ever done is lie and pervert God’s creation. He takes God’s creation, intended to turn our focus to the Lord, and tempts us to make it all about us – our wants, our desires, our fears…
He makes someone else’s blessing our jealousy.
He whispers in our ears, telling us we deserve better.
He empties us of hope, leaving us with a void we try to stuff with food, or drink, or drugs, or entertainment, or bad relationships.
Jesus called him “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10, ESV). And for good reason. The simple truth is this: Satan hates you. And he is going to do all he can to tempt you away from the Lord.
But take heart! If you’re a Christian, you have an escape pod. An emergency exit. A way out. To find it, you have to get down on your knees.
No, it isn’t under the bed.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” – Ephesians 6:12-20 (ESV)
Our battle isn’t against people. It isn’t against this world. In fact, the battle isn’t really ours. Ephesians 6:12-20 instructs us to stand strong in God. Stay in faith, stay in the Word (which is where we find Truth) and stay connected in prayer. There’s a real good reason Paul warns us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In prayer, we draw near to God. And when we draw near to God, He draws near to us! (James 4:8).
We have to keep our focus on God. When trouble comes, pray. When the situation is too much, give it to the Lord. Remember God’s promises. If you stumble, take a wrong turn – and we all do – get back up in faith and cling to Jesus.
Satan may not be all that original, but he is a strong adversary. However, he is also a defeated foe. God is stronger, God is sovereign, and God loves you. With every temptation (which more literally means “test”) that is leveled our way, the Lord provides a way out. Drop to your knees and and escape to the safety of Jesus.