There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
— 1 Corinthians 10:13
People can be quite a mystery!
You finally think you have them all figured out, and then they do something that totally lets you down and blows your mind! You never would have dreamed in a million years that they’d do something so crazy or inconsistent. That’s why you have to learn how to overcome the temptation to take offense or get upset every time someone disappoints or lets you down. You’ll enjoy life much more if you learn to forgive and overlook people’s inconsistencies, lack of commitment, unfaithfulness, temper tantrums, and mood swings — as well as all the other defects that are part of being human.
There are days when I don’t even understand my own moods! Therefore, I know I have to show mercy when I see others act differently than I expected. When I’m tempted to get upset with Denise, my kids, or my associates in the ministry, I stop and remind myself that I’m not perfect either. I’m sure there are moments when these same people are just as bewildered by me as I am by them! I can’t complain too much about others being a mystery because I’m such a mystery to myself sometimes. Oh, how I long for the day when I walk in the Spirit 100 percent of the time!
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
Even Christians who spend hours in prayer, read the Word, pray in the Spirit, and seek to live a holy life sometimes get in the flesh, doing and saying things they later regret. It’s just part of being human. When we receive our glorified bodies and go to Heaven, all our inconsistencies, mood swings, and complex emotions will be gone. Until then, we have to stay in an attitude of forgiveness and extend the same mercy to others that we expect them to extend to us.
If you’re going to get “bent out of shape” and lose your peace every time someone says or does something below what you expect of them, you will live your life constantly bothered, upset, and frustrated. Rather than focus on the inconsistencies and flaws of others, why not look in the mirror and let the Holy Spirit deal with you about the areas you need to change? It may be that God is using the people you think have done you wrong to expose a weakness in your own character that needs to change. Let God’s Spirit teach you how to overcome those exposed faults.
Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
As Christians, we must learn how to allow the fruit of the Spirit to operate in us regardless of the situation. When our relationships with others are going great — when we have no challenges, no problems, and no conflicts with anyone — it’s not difficult to be kind, loving, longsuffering, and easy to get along with. The real proof of spiritual maturity isn’t measured by the moments when our flesh is comfortable; it is revealed when we run into a situation that rubs our flesh the wrong way!
But what if you’re dealing with serious offenses and hurts in your relationships? What if you’ve been abused, betrayed, or deserted by your spouse, stabbed in the back by fellow church members, or rejected by your parents, family, or friends? If you’ve experienced any of these hurtful situations, you know how the devil can try to use such an event to debilitate you. But it’s time to move on and let the past be the past. If you carry wounds, bruises, and scars from previous hurts and offenses, you don’t have to carry them anymore. You don’t have to live with the residual effect of what the devil did to you in the past.
If you have harbored unhealthy attitudes, you must allow them to be recognized, uprooted, and removed by the Spirit of God. Otherwise, they will begin to produce vile fruit that has the power to socially isolate you and emotionally immobilize you. Bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness become like a terminal disease when left untended, eventually eating away at your insides, turning you bitter, and destroying every relationship in your life.
In every one of these situations I’ve described, God will make a way for you to escape negative emotions and killer attitudes if you really want to escape them. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
That word “escape” comes from the Greek word ekbasis, which is a compound word combining the word ek, meaning out, and basis, which means to go or to walk. When compounded, the new word carries the idea of an exit and literally means to walk out, as to walk out of a difficult place; to walk out of a trap; or to walk out of a place that isn’t good for you.
So this is what you can know: In every situation where you face the temptation to take offense at someone’s words or actions, you are the only one who can make the choice to jump through that escape hatch. The moment you make that decision, your journey to freedom has begun! If you’ll say yes to the Lord, He will show you how to get out of your mess! You can avoid, evade, dodge, elude, shake off, get out of, and break away from every temptation to take offense. You never have to get dragged into destructive emotions, feelings, and attitudes.
So today the Lord is asking: “Are you going to stay upset and offended, or are you willing to take the proper steps to escape from this emotional temptation and demonic trap? Are you ready to give up all unforgiveness and lay it at the foot of the Cross so you can walk free? Or do you want to continue clinging to resentment and turmoil, held hostage by spiritually, mentally, and physically crippling attitudes?”
What is your answer? What are you going to do? God is waiting for you to decide, because you definitely have the option to receive the freedom He is offering you and to walk into a broad, new place of abundant living with the choice you make today!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Dear Heavenly Father, I come before You right now and repent for having given place to the devil because of hurt and offense. I see now that the enemy set a trap for me to fall into temptation. I also ask You to forgive me for judging the faults and failings of others, when in fact my own impatience and carnality were on full display by the way I responded to their behavior. I ask You, Holy Spirit, to open the eyes of my understanding and reveal to me the ways I need to change so I am not susceptible to unhealthy attitudes that would keep me socially isolated or emotionally immobilized. I choose to walk away from the devil’s traps, and I trust You to help me escape the net of temptation.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I realize no one is perfect — and neither am I! I am not ignorant of the devil’s devices to destroy my relationships. Therefore, I refuse to be held hostage by crippling attitudes of negativity and disappointment when others fall short of my expectations. When I am tempted to become offended by a deliberate act of betrayal, rejection, or wrongdoing, I will look to the Holy Spirit. He is my Helper, my Strengthener, my Comforter, my Counselor, my Teacher, and my Advocate! The Holy Spirit will show me how to escape this temptation and respond according to the wisdom and the will of God. He will help me keep myself in the love of God so my faith will not fail and the devil cannot overtake me through his wiles against both me and the person who sought to do me harm.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of a time when you were tempted to be dragged into a conflict for which there was no real solution, but the Holy Spirit told you to be quiet and let it pass?
- If you are upset or offended, are you going to allow yourself to be dragged down by these negative mindsets, or are you willing to take the proper steps to escape from this emotional temptation and demonic trap?
- Are you ready to give up all unforgiveness, laying it at the foot of the Cross, so you can walk free? Or do you want to continue clinging to resentment and turmoil, held hostage by spiritually, mentally, and physically crippling attitudes? Your answer is very strategic to the outcome of your life, so seriously consider this question!