In Three Things About Sin, the prescription for sin is to deal with the temptation before it gives way to sin. It’s like getting a vaccine; preparing now to avoid a bigger problem later.
The Bible teaches us three things about temptation; they’re in the form of promises that we can claim and rely on.
1) Our temptations are not unique to us: Others have struggled with the same issues in the past.
2) God will limit temptation to what we can handle: God doesn’t tempt us and he does limit the enemy’s power to do so.
3) God will provide a way out: We can ask God to enable us to see the way out, give us the will to take it, and the strength to persevere.
And then we can withstand the temptation — just as he promised.
[1 Corinthians 10:13]
The book of Genesis in the Bible gives a concise three-point teaching about sin. This was written about Cain, but equally applies to us.
1) Sin is crouching at our door: The word “crouch” reminds me of a cat getting ready to pounce on its prey. The situation is ominous.
2) Sin desires to have us: Once the cat leaps for its quarry, there’s little doubt over the outcome. Sin is crouching for us; it is getting ready to leap and destroy us. There’s little we can do — or is there?
3) We must master it: Sin is much easier to master beforehand rather than in the midst of it. When it is crouching, the potential for sin is there, but it’s not actual sin; it’s temptation. We know what to do with temptation and the devil who promotes it; we are to resist.
[Genesis 4:7, James 4:7]
The Bible says that when we are tempted to do wrong, God will provide a way out so that we can avoid it. That is an encouraging promise, but does that really mean that every time — or just some of the time?
I think it is every time — really, I do.
The challenge is to be able to recognize the alternative and then to go down that path as soon as we see it. So, in anticipation of this, I ask God to give me the eyes to see the way out that he will provide — and then to have the will to take it.
In that way, with his help, we can stand up under the temptation — just as the Bible promises.
[1 Corinthians 12:13]