A Warning and Reassurance

4.18.23 Devo Image

“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 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 10:11–13 (NIV)

Honestly, if you could distill a large portion of this book down to a passage, I would refer you to 1 Corinthians 6:12 (HCSB), where he adds, “’Everything is permissible for me,’ but not everything is helpful. ‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but I will not be brought under the control of anything.” Paul repeats this again almost word-for-word in 1 Corinthians 10:23 (HCSB), saying, “’Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is helpful. ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything builds up.” 

Because of the grace of God in Christ, all our sins are forgiven and covered. We’re declared innocent before God, our eternity is secure, and nothing we do can change that. This isn’t an invitation to live however we want, though! Just because we technically can do anything without fear of God’s wrath doesn’t mean we should, nor does it mean we’re free from earthly consequences for our actions! This leads us to Paul’s warning of Israel’s history in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. 

What’s the point he drives home with this warning? In the most basic words: Don’t become complacent and prideful in yourself. Don’t come to the place where you drop your guard because you think “you’re good.” 

Israel thought they were good: They were God’s chosen people—He saved them, performed miracles for them, and brought them through the Red Sea. His presence went with them everywhere. But as Paul says, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” Instead, “be alert and of sober mind.” Why? Because “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). Israel fell into temptation, even though they could have avoided it, and their struggles and shortcomings should serve as an example for us so we don’t fall prey to temptation. 

Now, regarding temptation, Paul says, “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.” Isn’t that beautiful? God never allows us to be in a situation we have no way to resist! In fact, that’s not how temptation even works. 

Well, then how does temptation work? James tells us: “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14–15 NLT, emphasis added). Temptation is born when we stop beholding the Lord and become beholden to something other than the Lord. 

So, how do we fight against the temptation and flee? What’s the out Paul was talking about that we always have? Turn our eyes back onto Jesus and keep them fixed upon Him! Turn to Him in prayer, in the Word, in the safety of Christian community. In the same way that a bully will flee when the bigger, stronger brother shows up, you can “resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NIV) by calling upon your co-heir, Christ, the greater Lion of Judah who causes the lesser lion to flee! Draw near to Him and stay near to Him. This is the only true way to live, friends. I pray you never lose sight of this truth and of our beautiful Savior, King, and Mighty Warrior!

Pause: How does temptation really work? How do we fight temptation?

Practice: Whatever you’re struggling with, whatever temptations you face, you can stand against it in the name of Jesus and through nearness to Jesus. And one of the best ways to do this is in community! There, we find safety in numbers. If you don’t have a community of Christians you can connect with, be transparent and accountable with, please contact me at DanielS@CalvaryFTL.org. I would love to help you find a community to be part of! 

Pray: Father, how wonderful You are! How beautiful, merciful, patient, loving, and faithful You are! You never allow us to be hopeless and helpless against temptation. You always provide a way out. Thank You, Lord, for this wonderful reassurance. In light of this, by Your Holy Spirit who is in me, please help me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus who is the pioneer and perfecter of my faith. Help me to walk in nearness to Jesus, because I know myself. I know how weak I am and how strong my sinful nature can be. I know my eyes have a tendency to fixate on my circumstances and surroundings. So, help me, Father. Pour Your Spirit out in ever-increasing measure upon my life and help me to abide in Christ. Amen.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.