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Snakes & Ladders

1 Corinthians 10:13
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Most kids born before the 2000’s have played Snakes and Ladders and if you haven’t then, just so you know, it’s a board game that requires players to go from start to finish. In the game there are spaces that have ladders which allow the player to move ahead along the trail but there are also spaces that have snakes that usher the player back down the map. I like to throw in a plug for scripture memorization in that with every scripture you memorize it’s like a ladder being added to the game board of your life. You come to a situation and that verse helps just like a ladder. In the same way, but the opposite side of the coin, without having scripture or praying it’s as if you hit a snake. In the words of D.L. Moody, “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.”

This verse deals with the subject of temptation. I want to make something very clear, it is not a sin to be tempted. Temptation comes in all shapes and sizes, and is essentially harmless. Picture your mind being like a hotel lobby. The hotel can’t stop anyone from coming into the lobby, but they do control who checks in and who doesn’t. In the same way, our minds have our own personal desires plus the world trying to get in. The sin occurs when we allow that sin into our mind to stay, and act on it.

The first thing that sticks out in the verse is, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man.” Firstly this is saying that all mankind will be faced with temptation. As long as we are human we will struggle with sin. A lot of people think if they stay away from church they won’t have to worry about temptation, or if they become Bible masters they can avoid temptations. This is not the case on any front! For one, if a person just leaves the church and thinks they can do this Christian relationship by themselves then they better be prepared for more snakes on their board than ladders. On the other hand, if I become a master in the spiritual disciplines and build my ladder base more and more the result is bigger snakes will come in. Temptation isn’t of the Lord, it is everything else that is trying to come between you and the Lord.

The promise of this verse is, “…but God is faithful.” This is a promise that God has given us. Even though more and more snakes try to enter our lives, the Lord then provides more and more ladders. The Bible gives so many examples of how faithful God is to His people. The Bible is full of people that fail and fall short but then God, or Christ, steps in and provides another way. This is seen in the last part of the verse, “…will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.” WHAT A PROMISE!!! How can we continue to find excuses and reasons to not do things such as scripture memorization, picking up our Bibles and reading, or going to life groups (Sunday school)? If we don’t seek God and build our ladder base, then the snakes of our life will keep us far away from all of our goals.

A Servant of Christ,
Nathan VanderBoegh

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