Who doesn’t long to escape at times? Especially to escape hard things? Is it hard to deny the flesh and obey the Lord? Yes, but be encouraged. 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 of escape. 1Corinthians 10:13 NIV
What is the way of escape? Does it differ depending on circumstances? On the type of temptation? Sounds complicated…maybe the Lord has made it simple? Perhaps the bottom line is that he himself is the way of escape, every time! Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18 NIV
If we claim to follow Jesus Christ, then we must follow his example. Directly after his baptism, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for 40 days he was tempted by the devil. Luke 4:1-2 NIV
There are some people who walk daily led by the Spirit, not fulfilling the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16. They are faithful examples and Sword Masters.
There are those who used to wield their swords but have grown weary and discouraged. May you be encouraged to dust off your swords and return to the way of the Master.
Finally, there are those to whom this concept is a new “thing”, (yep, it’s a real “thing), who do not know how to walk in the victory Jesus Christ has already secured! Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 Holman Christian Standard Version
So for those 40 days of temptation in the desert, what did Jesus do? He went straight to the Word of God. “It is written…” Luke 4:4, 8, 10, 12 We then are to go straight to the Word of God. Blessed are we to have
1) the Word of God Incarnate, Jesus Christ: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 NIV
2) The Word of God, the Bible. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Berean Study Bible
3) The Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance…. Ephesians 6:17-18 HCSB
So, to deal with temptation, to find the way of escape that God has provided, is to go straight to Jesus Christ and his Word. He IS the way of escape, every time!
Satisfying the desires of the flesh – doing what we want to do – is the easy way out of temptation/struggles, but is not the way out that God faithfully provides. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 NIV For if men are controlled by their earthly natures, they give their minds to earthly things. If they are controlled by their spiritual natures, they give their minds to spiritual things. Romans 8:5 Weymouth New Testament
How do we do this? How did Jesus do this? Just as we become physically stronger by eating healthy food and pushing ourselves to exercise regularly, so it is with our spirits. Which nature will we feed and strengthen? With self-discipline, we learn to wield our swords, to use them quickly and effectively, and with increasing endurance.
Jesus, in the desert, showed persistence. He never varied in his tactic. He used Scripture. James 4:7-8 says to humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. New Living Translation
Is it hard? Uh, yeah! Is it do-able? Uh, yeah! As we immerse ourselves in the Word of God, praying that the Holy Spirit opens our eyes, minds and hearts to what we read in his Word, we are more desirous of, and capable of, choosing God’s way of escape from temptation. We learn Scripture, and then have Scripture to even speak aloud, to declare God’s attributes, who he is and what he has done. We are able to say No!” to our own willfulness, to temptation, “No!” to the devil, and “Yes!” to the Lord. When we recall to mind or speak aloud his Word, we focus on our stronghold, our strength and refuge, and the victory – Jesus Christ. He comes close to us as we fix our eyes on him. This I declare about the Lord: he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I trust Him. Psalm 91:2 NLT …The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NIV Let’s grab our swords, sisters and brothers!
God has done so much! Contemplate Christmas, the initiation of the physical demonstration of the Tempter’s total defeat! Christ the Babe, fully divine and fully human, growing, facing every temptation we face, defeating Satan by Christ’s death and resurrection; Jesus secured our victory, and is our way of escape in every temptation. Ultimately, he’s our way of escape from the wrath of God. The Great Escape – hallelujah! Glorious Good News!