No one is given a pass when it comes to temptation. What we are given as Christians is a way of escape. The apostle Paul taught believers not to be fearful when they face temptation because God will offer help and a way out for those who will look for it: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV).
Scripture establishes that God is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; Hebrews 10:23; Revelation 1:5). Just as Yahweh provided a way of escape for the enslaved children of Israel, He will always present a path to freedom for us. Our heavenly Father is not a faraway, uninterested observer leaving us to fumble along through life. He’s right here with us in the battle. The Lord loves us and wants us to succeed in our fight against sin: “God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NLT).
For believers, God’s rescue plan is the person of Jesus Christ. He understands our weaknesses and temptations: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15–16). Our primary avenue of rescue is to run to Jesus for help (1 John 2:1; 4:4).
Often, we confuse temptation with sin, but being tempted is not in itself a sin. We sin when we give in to temptation. That is why Jesus taught us to pray, “Don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13, NLT).
In most instances, the best course of action is to flee. The account of Joseph in Potiphar’s house is a perfect example of how God provides the way of escape from temptation (Genesis 39:1–23). Joseph refused to give in to Potiphar’s wife’s repeated sexual enticements. He rightly understood that such sin was an offense against God (verse 9). When the temptress tried to force Joseph into her bed, he took advantage of God’s exit route and ran from the house, leaving his cloak in her hand (verse 12). Joseph gives us a literal demonstration of Paul’s admonishments to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18) and “stay away from every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22, CSB).
We avoid temptation by staying far from it. Proverbs 4:14–15 warns, “Keep off the path of the wicked; don’t proceed on the way of evil ones. Avoid it; don’t travel on it. Turn away from it, and pass it by” (CSB). If we want to stop indulging our sweet tooth, we stay out of the candy store.
We keep ourselves far from evil and temptation by running to God and His Word. Paul urged Timothy to “run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you” (1 Timothy 6:11–12, NLT). James instructed us to humble ourselves before God, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7, NLT). Jesus resisted the devil’s temptations with the truth of God’s Word, and so can we (Matthew 4:4, 10).
God also provides a way of escape from temptation through prayerful vigilance. Jesus told Peter, James, and John to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38). Later, Peter counseled believers to “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). Peter’s final recorded words included the command to “be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17–18, NLT).
Sometimes we need to come alongside other Christians in an accountability setting for support and prayer. Paul taught that, if someone is “overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted” (Galatians 6:1, CSB). As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are stronger together as we carry one another’s burdens (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Whenever we stare temptation in the face, we must remember that we’re not alone (Deuteronomy 31:8). The Lord is with us, and His Spirit is at work in us, enabling us to crucify “the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22–24). God will never leave us or abandon us to our own resources. We must look to Him and other believers for the way of escape that God has promised to provide.