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 10:13 NIV
If there is always a way out of every temptation, then why do we give in? Why do we struggle with temptation at all? If we are new creations once we accept Jesus into our lives, then why is it so hard to live right?
In September, 1990, I found myself in the back of a classroom of a small Bible college. After two years at a university, my life plan had ceased to work. I had been playing basketball and studying for a degree in aviation. For the first time, I began struggling academically. These struggles caused me to lose my sports eligibility as well as some scholarship money. While working at night, I half-heartedly enrolled. But all along, I planned to go back to finish my degree in aviation. I had no idea that God would take that Bible school environment to further alter my life plans.
Sometime that fall, He began changing me. Out of all the great speakers, teachers, and ministers, one professional counselor spoke on Isaiah 61. He shared about the anointing of the Lord to set prisoners free and bind up the brokenhearted. In the middle of this classroom, God began to reveal some of my own hurts and weaknesses. He began to grow me into a free man; one who overcomes insecurity. Instead of running from life’s problems, He began molding me into one who attacks them. I began to grow from one who was controlled by fear, to one who was confident in who God had called me to be. I began to see God as a relational being who wanted to interact with me on a daily, moment by moment basis.
These repairs greatly increased my capacity for initiating and maintaining healthy relationships with people. Getting a foundation in grace instead of works radically changed the way I thought, and the way I interacted with God. How had certain beliefs impacted my emotional response to situations? How had my emotional response caused me to behave in other situations? Somewhere in this personal journey to freedom, He also began to reveal His true life plan for me. I often wondered why God seemed to use such a long process to fix different issues in me. Why didn’t He just wave a magic wand and fix my issues instantly? One of His answers to that question was that He wanted me to understand His process. I needed to understand it so that I could embrace it for myself and help others recognize it in their own lives.
Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection affords us certain things as Christians. Not only does it give us right standing with God for eternity in heaven, it does something else. The cross provides freedom from all of the things that can so easily entangle us here on Earth. Freedom from anything? Yes, freedom from addictions, hurts, habits, and hang-ups. To find our way of escape, we need to apply His truth and partner with Him to find our God-given victory through the process!
— Pastor Tommy Briggs
Take some time to reflect on these questions:
Have you ever wondered why you do certain things? Have you ever wondered if certain beliefs or past events are causing your reactions?
If Hebrews 12:1 says we should throw off any sin that hinders or entangles us, would God command us to do something that He would not empower us to do?