If you Don’t Listen, You’ll Have To Feel

From Sunday, November 10, 2013

If you don’t listen you’ll have to feel – Part 1

1 Corinthians 10:6-13 New International Version (NIV)

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[a] We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, [b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, [e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 

Christian psychologist, Dr. Richard Dobbins often shares the story of how his mother died lessonslearnedgiving birth to him. A short time later, his father married the widowed sister of his deceased wife. His aunt, now his step-mother, was attentive to the active young boy. She worked hard to keep him from injury or pain, constantly reminding him not to touch the stove; not to run too fast or climb too high. To this day he still recalls her words, “If you don’t listen, you’ll have to feel.”

But being a strong-willed, stubborn child, he failed to heed her words and touched the hot stove one day, severely burning his hand. He could have avoided the pain by listening to the words of his aunt. But instead he disobeyed and felt the pain which became a much sterner teacher.

In this passage, the apostle Paul writes a heart-to-heart letter to the Corinthians, reminding them of Israel’s disobedience in the wilderness.

Israel had experienced God’s love and care as he delivered them from the harsh bondage of slavery. He led them in the wilderness with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He provided manna and quail for them to eat as well as water for them to drink. But they still did their own thing. They worshipped other gods, committed acts of immorality, tested God’s patience and grumbled about everything.

His message is clear for the Corinthian church and for us today:  We should not overlook the lessons of history. “If you don’t listen, you’ll have to feel the pain of the consequences.”

However, Paul didn’t want his readers to overreact and become paranoid as they considered Israel’s record.  The temptations the Corinthians faced (idolatry, immorality, testing the Lord and grumbling) were not unique; God would give them grace to handle any temptation they faced.

For the Corinthians and for us today, verse 13 is a general promise of victory over these and any other temptations we face.

We dare not underestimate the danger of the temptations we face on a day to day basis, or overestimate our own ability to handle them. Instead, we must walk closely with God every day.

From Sunday, November 17, 2013

If you don’t listen you’ll have to feel – Part 2

1 Corinthians 10:6-13 New International Version (NIV)

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[a] We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, [b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, [e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 

1. Everyone is tempted

God wants us to be aware of the areas where we’re most likely to be tempted because if we fail to identify those weaknesses, we become easy prey for the enemy.

Being blind to our own weakness will affect our sensitivity to the voice and things of God. It can cause us to look for the faults in others while disregarding our own.

Verse 12 reminds us that temptation is common for us as human beings. If the enemy can convince us that our temptations are rare or strange or embarrassing, we will have a tendency to treat them secretly, not being willing to talk to Jesus or anyone else about them. But becoming aware of our weaknesses will prepare us to hear God’s voice and save us a lot of unnecessary grief.

2. No one needs to fail.

Verse 13 reminds us that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to handle. Every temptation we face can be met  in Jesus Christ. (1 John 4:4)  If we listen to the lies of the enemy and  doubt that  Jesus can help us, we are in essence saying that the devil is stronger than Christ.We will feel overwhelmed and give in to those falsehoods.  (James 1:13-15)

But the truth is that the devil cannot force the child of God to do something he or she chooses not to do. When we allow Jesus to alert us to the temptations we face, he will assist us in overcoming them and help us to avoid them. The key is that we listen so we don’t have to feel the consequences.

3. God makes a way for us to escape

Sin, though passing and temporary, is pleasurable. Stop for a moment and consider how much money is spent each year on having a good time. the enemy is a specialist at designing pleasure that will  capture our focus and prevent us from listening to God. He never shows us the price tag. He teases, tantalizes and deceives us into buying into his scheme until we are trapped

God  uniquely provides for each of us, in that moment, specifically what we need to bear it. His provision enables us to resist, endure and overcome the temptation.

Throughout God’s word we see examples of those who experienced temptation and had to feel the consequences: Moses, David, Samson and Peter. We see others who faced temptations and overcame them with the Lord’s help: Joseph and Daniel. The challenge for us is to listen to their examples; to grow and mature in the Lord; to come to him in repentance and humility when we face temptations. (Revelation 3:20)

So are we listening? If not, we’ll have to feel.

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