♣ The Way of Escape

“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.

THERE ARE TWO sinister elements at work when a Christian undergoes severe trials: the crushing pressure of circumstances that are the making of acute weariness – the wearing down of the saint and the second is the overwhelming atmosphere each temptation produces. These two aspects are what seem to ‘trap’ or ‘suffocate’ the Christian, where no way out is seen and where only defeat appears paramount.

We must bear in mind with 1 Corinthians 10:13 that Paul is not referring to a way of escape when tempted, as some translations have it, but the way of escape. God has one way for the Christian under intense adversity; there is no second-best path but the very best that God has designed to prove and refine our faith. Neither will we find alternative routes in a minefield of acute allurement; it is only through absolute dependence on the power of God and the entire yielding of ourselves to Him that we encounter the reality of “He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world.” The way is narrow and so extremely tight that there is no other possible way out but to only pursue the path that lies before us.

Sir Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going” and for so many in life, that is the only way forward for survival. It was certainly the case for those who lost families, homes and livelihoods during the Second World War. For the genuine Christian, however, there is another kind of ‘hell’ the world or carnal Christian knows nothing about and that is direct opposition from the evil spiritual forces and rulers of this world – not the earth; that belongs to God – but the very atmosphere of the world that is opposed to God. A mere survivalist mentality will not hold you up for one second; we must be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. God’s grace is the very antidote to being overcome by weariness and we must draw on it every moment.

You may be under terrific pressure from both aspects and about to give up hope in conquering, but then comes the glorious door out of nowhere – the unexpected aid of the Holy Spirit. It is not escaping the situation, as if to be taken out of it – “I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one(John 17:15) – but rather to endure it and in that enduring is being more than conqueror through it. You will find this way – the only way – of escape (from being overcome) is a perfectly balanced one; you will discern the Holy Spirit at work, His constraining power to uphold you from falling, even though you may feel you are walking on a knife’s edge and with the slightest slip you would fall. You have to fight, but in the power of God’s might, “I labour with all my energy with His power that works mightily in me” (Colossians 1:29) – it’s the same principle in this instance – “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

To walk in obedience here is to walk in the Spirit (and that does not exempt a great awareness of the flesh simultaneously opposing) and by this way we shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. It is not just the sins of the flesh (the most flagrant), as we are mostly accustomed to assume, but our attitudes that others may not see. Self pity can be one of the most sapping aspects of spiritual sustenance in the midst of trials. Out of such comes a great lack of unshakeable confidence in God that leaves us wide open to the enemy of our souls and faith. Notice that ancient Israel didn’t necessarily fail because of their ‘outward’ sins of the flesh per-se; it went beyond all of that to their inward disobedience of grumbling, complaining at the providence of God – and it was all nourished by unbelief.

One of the most comforting aspects when a child of God is encountering manifold temptations and affliction is to know you’re not alone, nor abandoned by God, but He is in the very midst of it with you – “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” and in the very throes of this dense darkness, we come to see that His goodness and mercy surely does follow us all the days of our lives. This is the heart of the Law of God that is pleasing in our eyes; we not only want to obey it, but we are empowered to obey it. This is grace abounding over the presence and power of sin and is none other the practical outworking (evidence) of God writing His ways on our very hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). They are further witnesses of the Spirit that we are indeed children of God.

The way of escape is that we walk through it; we clearly discern God’s path of righteousness and we are empowered to walk it, to walk and not be faint, to run and not grow weary, but more so: to mount above the death-like pessimism with wings like eagles. This is the victory in the very thick of conflict that God has called us to in Christ Jesus.

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Posted on August 4, 2014, in ♣ Devotional and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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