“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).
Paul is writing to the Corinthians and he is reassuring them. “You’re about ready to fall? You feel like you can’t go on? Well, be encouraged because I have a good word for you. A lot of people have walked through the same temptations you are experiencing, but they have not been overcome!” Why? Because God is faithful and he will provide a way of escape.
God is faithful! Those around you may not be faithful; in fact, I am not faithful in my own strength. But Jesus lives in us and the righteousness of God is being worked out in our lives.
When you meet Jesus, the seed of God lives in you. The blood of the Lamb that was sacrificed on the cross energizes you and your body, mind, heart and soul are transformed. Jesus captures your heart and transforms you, making you a new creation.
God will provide the way of escape! Our culture offers many ways of escaping but the Word of God says that Jesus is the way of escape. God will provide! Remember Abraham when he went up the mountain to offer his own son as a sacrifice. He was going in his own strength but God stopped him and said, “Not your own flesh, Abraham. I will provide a sacrifice for you” (see Genesis 22:12-13).
No matter what you are facing today, you can trust God to provide a way out for you — a way of escape. Look to him and confess, “Lord, you are my sufficiency. By your grace I can overcome every temptation in my life: depression, fear, anger, lust, any power of darkness that comes against me.”
Most of us know that Christ is the perfect model of love. We know the message in 1 Corinthians 13 about the preeminence of love, and we know that God is love. But then we foolishly try to love more in our own strength. We make well-meaning, deliberate attempts to overcome selfish habits and our natural distaste for cranky, obnoxious people. But when we react unkindly and sense failure, we just go back to the drawing board, convinced that if we only try harder, or read more scriptures, we’ll somehow get better at loving others.
Paul spoke of “love in the Spirit,” which is something totally separate from human ability. Remember his teaching to the Galatians? “The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22). Love is a fruit growing within us from a supernatural source. It’s not your love, and yet it is, since the Spirit works in you both to will and to do loving things that are on his mind. He is our life and bears the fruit — not us. That is why he was sent to live in us.
How else could Stephen, as he was being stoned, say, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60)? Only the love of God could make him love like that.
Without the miracle of God’s love, life has a way of hardening all of us. We become cynical, crusty senior citizens without the glow of the “first love” we experienced at the beginning of our life in Christ. This is not only bad for us but also for the cause of Christ to a watching world. But it doesn’t have to be that way. “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green” (Psalm 92:14).
Let’s ask for a fresh baptism of God’s love. Let’s then walk in that love so everyone encountering us can have a peek into the heart of God.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.
A crucial link is missing in many of our lives, which often is the reason we do not receive answers to many of our prayers. Beloved, that missing link is faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
James is very clear in this instruction: “Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7).
If a person entertains doubt, regardless of how many rivers of tears he cries, he will not receive anything from God. Of course, God wants us to cry out to him from our inmost being. But he does not hear our cries unless they are accompanied by faith!
The psalms abound with the testimony of David who came to God not only with tears but with a heart full of confidence and total trust in his Father. “Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped” (Psalm 28:6-7).
“[The Lord] is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name” (Psalm 33:20-21).
Nearly every time we read David’s cries to the Lord in prayer, we hear his testimony of trust. You may spend many hours in prayer, weeping and pleading with God to give you what he has already promised. We cannot conceive of the possibility that God could be displeased with our prayers. However, the Word is clear that we must “ask in faith, with no doubting.”
Beloved, grab hold of this wonderful truth and allow God to bring you into a new place in prayer.
Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and from his holy sanctuary within your heart, he breathes his influence on all your emotions — wooing, encouraging, comforting, convicting, guiding, teaching, reproving, manifesting the reality of Christ. What a marvelous gift!
Sadly, many neglect this wonderful gift inside us. And some even ignore God’s Spirit entirely, going about their daily lives as if he doesn’t abide within.
Beloved, the gift of the Holy Spirit within us provides us with all the power, resources, hope, grace and peace we will ever need. And yet we subject him to the awful abuse of neglect. Yes, it is abuse against the Spirit for us to carry unnecessary burdens — to walk before a wicked world fretting and acting as if our God were dead.
We are to be a testimony to those around us and if you do not run to the Lord with your questions and burdens, then the world has every right to ask you, “Where is your God? Where is the Christ you talk so much about?”
We should all be a visible testimony of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This lost, broken, confused generation needs to see and hear us proclaim, “My soul is at rest, my mind at peace because I have dwelling within me the very Spirit of God himself! He is guiding me and comforting my troubled soul. I do not fear any evil because I sleep and then awaken in the saving power of the Holy Spirit — who lives in me!”
“[Cast] all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). It is one thing to quote this verse and another to believe it! Let the Holy Spirit within you bring a revelation of the truth of his Word. He will reveal to you the secret of his presence and you will walk in glorious freedom.
David boldly declared, “[God is] the help of my countenance” (Psalm 42:11). When we talk about countenance, we are referring to facial expression, even body language and tone of voice. David is saying something very important here. Your face is like a billboard that advertises what is going on in your heart — all the joy or turmoil is reflected there.
When your mind is loaded down with the cares of life, you may have a tendency to frown or even slouch. At the best, you may look preoccupied, with a furrowed brow and a sad appearance.
I thank God for his great salvation — for redeeming us — but many of us need a Holy Ghost face-lift because our faces are giving the wrong message to the world. You need to be aware that your countenance reflects what is going on inside your heart — it is the index of your soul!
“A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the sternness of his face is changed” (Ecclesiastes 8:1). I take wisdom as used in this verse to mean Jesus Christ. Indeed, the very presence of Christ in your heart has a direct impact on your face.
Just as worry and sin can harden a person’s face so, too, can the presence of the Lord soften and brighten it. When we fully trust in God’s Word and rest in his love, our appearance will undergo a change; a quiet calm will begin to radiate from our countenance. When Hannah laid down her burden, her face was no longer etched with sorrow (see 1 Samuel 1:18). Joy radiated from her! And when Stephen stood before hostile, angry men in the Sanhedrin, they observed his face appearing as “the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15). Stephen stood among unbelievers with the shine of Jesus Christ — and the difference was clear to all!
I encourage you to allow your countenance to speak of God’s faithfulness in your life today.