The Parables of Jesus
“Don’t let Temptation rule your life.”
March 20, 2022
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
(This is the Epistle reading for the third Sunday of lent.)
When I think of the word temptation, the old saying, “I got my hand caught in the cookie jar,” comes to mind.
This saying means that you got caught doing something wrong. In many cases, the phrase is connected with someone stealing from their employer.
If someone is caught stealing, then they have given in to temptation. We’ve all been tempted to do something we shouldn’t. As adults, we’re tempted by the allure of what money can buy us, or we may be tempted to be promiscuous.
We’re tempted to take a playmate’s toy as a child because we want it. Or, we may accidentally break Mom’s favorite vase and be tempted to lie and not confess we were the one who broke it.
We have all been tempted. But, there have undoubtedly been times when we’ve given in to our temptations and done the wrong thing. As always, we may, “Get away with it.” But as Christians, we all know that we really never get away giving into temptations. God knows and sees everything we do.
Today’s Epistle lesson deals with temptation and how God works with us to avoid and get through it.
Warnings from Israel’s History
“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. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Now, these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 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.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, (10:9 Some manuscripts test the Lord) as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation (10:13 The Greek for temptation and tempted can also mean testing and tested.) 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.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
1 Corinthians 10:13, is one of my favorite passages from the Bible.
“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.”
In his letter to the people of Corinth, Paul sets this passage up with the temptations and sins of the people of Israel; during their Wilderness experience. Paul points out that they, the citizens of Corinth, are doing many of the same things.
They worship idols, such as Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. They were sexually immoral, and they grumbled against God. They were mimicking the temptations and sinfulness of the Israelites.
Here’s Paul’s point. We need to learn from prior generations how to live and how not to live. Our ancestors were tempted by the world/Satan. So are we, and so will our children and our children’s children.
When Paul says, “be careful that you don’t fall,” he’s warning us. We will face temptations.
But, with God’s help, we can withstand the temptations that we encounter. He encourages us and promises a way out. Our way out may be that we can withstand the onslaught of temptation. Why? Because we have our feet firmly rooted in the Word of God because we have faith in Jesus. And, because God promised He will never give us more than we can handle.
Remember, God never breaks His promises.
Keep yourself rooted firmly in the faith, and with the help of God, you can fend off an onslaught of temptation.
Dear Jesus. You spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness. You were able to resist an onslaught of temptations by Satan. With your help, allow us to have your strength to keep away from temptation. Amen