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 out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
This is one of the very first verses I ever memorized outside of a classroom. As a young man I saw this as a significant promise that would enable me to live the life that God had called me to. This verse tells me three things. First of all that the temptations I face in life are not unique to me. Whether as an 18 year old new believer heading into the Navy, or of a 64 year old senior, my temptations are generally the same as everyone else’s. That is not to say that everyone faces all of the same temptations, but none of us have temptations that are unique to themselves.
The second thing that Paul says in this verse is that God knows me and what I am capable of overcoming. And he will not allow temptation, or trials, to come my way that I am not capable of overcoming. Never can I honestly say that I had no choice about giving in, that resisting temptation was too hard.
And, finally, the promise that he will always provide a way for me to endure the temptation that he allows to come to me. I am not left to deal with temptation on my own. I need only look for the way of escape. That way may be through the Scripture, as it was for Jesus in his wilderness temptations (Matt. 4:1-11). Or it may be to run like Joseph did when tempted by Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:11-12). If I succumb to temptation, it is only because I chose my own way rather than the way God provided.