Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction . . . .
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Cor. 10:11, 13
Temptation is indeed common to man. Most do not recognize it as such, impulses are routinely acted upon, just as it is said, “if it feels good, do it.” The believer, though, is under constraint to glorify God in his body (1 Cor. 6:20), to flee from sin. We all know this, but the knowing and the doing are two different things, and as we all know, it is all too easy to succumb to the world’s seductions.
How can we improve the odds of successfully battling the daily temptations? Paul give the hint in the above verses. How can we fight against temptation? Is it through Tradition? Through humorous anecdotes? Examples from TV shows? Shots in the dark? Educated guesses? General consensus? Jumping to conclusions? Jesus was tempted in all the things we ourselves are (Heb 2:18; Heb 4:15), how did He succeed? What tools did He use?
Just look at the best example, Satan directly tempting Jesus at the commencement of His ministry, after fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:13) Satan confronted Jesus three times. And every time it was Scripture that was the weapon of choice. In point of fact, Scripture is the ultimate if not the only choice. And the more we immerse ourselves in the Word the easier it is for the right words to come, just as in Jesus’ case. Which is why it is vital to read the Scripture regularly, habitually, daily, so that just as an athlete trains and practices over and over so that his responses become automatic, patterns are memorized, just so the believer should be as familiar with the Word that an intimacy and familiarity of God, His character, His holiness, are so familiar to us, they become a part of us.
The Word is our way of escape. It is God’s great weapon to teach, correct, and train us in righteousness. (2 Titus 3:16) Many of us listen to music on such a consistent basis, either the radio or mobile mp3 players or CDs, that we have memorized a great many songs. God’s Word should be just the same. With repetition comes the ease of recollection. The easier it is to recall the Scriptures the easier it is to deflect the arrows of Satan. As Paul states, they were written for our example, so we really can learn from them.
Sincerely ask daily that you would be given a great delight in His Word, something to miss if you don’t read it for a time, something to treasure, that you would become a great light of glory to God, not someone hiding under a bushel (Luke 11:33). We ignore the Word to our peril. We relish the Word to our profit and that of the world.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]