Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Monday, May 6 - Defeating Temptations

“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 10:12-13

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Steve Sarkisian was riding high as head coach of the USC Trojans until he gave a speech while slurring his words (people suspected he was intoxicated). In October 2015, he was fired and later spoke about it being a humbling experience, as he went to a rehabilitation center for a period of time. Afterward, Nick Saban hired him as offensive coordinator at Alabama, and he did so well that the Texas Longhorns hired him as head coach. He is much more careful now, and is excelling in his career and in life.

Whether we are a football coach or in another position, we can’t put our life on autopilot. We can’t live without thinking and praying before doing and expect to overcome all the enticements sent our way. If we want to avoid sin, we must be wide awake, because the enemy (and our own heart) wants us to sin. Temptation knocks on the door of every man, woman and child, and we need God’s help to resist temptation and win the battle.

It’s important to understand our weaknesses and to avoid overconfidence. Everybody has something they struggle with. Some people tend to be untruthful to make themselves sound better than they are. Others wrestle with anger (and sometimes embarrass themselves in public because of it). “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 10:12-13). We should be prepared and alert so that our complacency doesn’t blind us to our own weaknesses and temptations.

In the Bible, Peter fell flat on his face more than once, and warned us to prepare beforehand for the tricky temptations. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:8-9). After years of experience and instruction from the Lord, Peter taught us to be more careful as we live day to day. The devil doesn’t sleep or take time off, so we must stay vigilant too.

As Christians, we don’t always live up to our own standards — we need the Holy Spirit to undergird and strengthen us to live in a way that pleases God. “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:9-11).

We all face temptations, and will inevitably make mistakes from time to time. God has extended His sweet mercies to us all. But following Christ means we aim to grow in His likeness. And in the process of being sanctified, we realize we must strengthen ourselves in the Lord so that we do not fall, but can stand firm against whatever the devil throws at us.

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia

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