The Way Out

The clock was ticking down, and we couldn’t find the way out. We had seconds to stop the runaway train before it exploded in fiery destruction.  Close. Oh so close. We just had to figure out the wiring diagram and engage the brake. But we were too late. The clock ticked down to zero, and the screen exploded in fiery yellows and reds, and the voice came over the intercom. Time’s up. You failed.

I’m describing the ending moments at an escape room. I was with the leaders from a Mission Agency I serve, and we were doing a team building exercise. We had found all the clues, added numbers, and decoded secret messages, only to fail to interpret the last clue on time.

It was a little frustrating, but we all exited the room, tipped our guide, and went out to dinner. Isn’t that what you always do when your train hits a wall at 100 MPH?

A way out of temptation

I thought about that escape room when I was reading in I Corinthians. Paul told the church at Corinth “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape that you will be able to endure it (I Corinthians 10:13). There was a way out of that runaway train scenario. We just didn’t find it in time.

There were no serious consequences for not finding the way out of the escape room. But there are serious consequences when I yield to temptation instead of overcoming it. Sin can affect and destroy relationships with others. It can damage my reputation and my health.  And worst of all, sin always breaks fellowship with the Father until I deal with it.

The question is, how do I find the way out? Paul promises us that there is always a way out, that it is possible to not sin. How do I find it?

Know your enemy!

First, I need to recognize temptation for what it is. When the serpent went to Eve in the garden, he disguised his offering. He didn’t tell her to disobey God. Instead, he made her question whether God was good or not. He didn’t give her fruit. He offered her the chance to be a god. When Eve accepted the fruit, she did it because it was “good for food, and it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6).

That’s how Satan operates. He hides the ugly reality beneath a glossy veneer. The fruit might have been tasty. But it wasn’t good for food. There were hundreds of other options within her reach that were just as flavorful that didn’t carry with them the curse of disobedience. It might have been pleasant to the eyes on its surface, but it opened her eyes to what she had never wanted to see. And it didn’t make her wise. It made her a fool because only fools try to compete with God.

What is he really saying?

When I am tempted, I need to figure out what I am really being offered. Is it a shiny new car that will make others envy me? Or does that shiny paint job hide the trapdoor of bankruptcy or financial ruin?

Read up for a way out

Second, I need to be prepared for the fight. When Jesus faced temptation, He did it with scripture. Three times, Satan entices Jesus with alluring options. Three times, Jesus responds with scripture. It is important to remember that Jesus was fully human. Although He was fully divine as well, He faced temptation in His humanity. That means I can employ His tactics also.

If I knew my life depended on how much time I spent reading, studying, and memorizing scripture, my schedule would change. But my life really can depend on my knowledge of scripture. I should take that to heart.

Don’t forget the armor

Third, I need to put on the armor God has given me. In Ephesians 6, Paul reminds us that our fight isn’t against human beings. Our fight is against spiritual forces. Far too often, we get confused and lash out against people instead of the unseen enemy that drives their behavior.

The armor God provides will protect me in the fiercest battle. But I have to wear it. I have heard sad stories of police officers who were killed because their bullet vest was too hot and bulky, so they left it in the car.

…even if it’s uncomfortable.

Spiritual armor can also be uncomfortable. If I wear the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, I have to walk in truth and righteousness with all that entails. The helmet of salvation can protect my mind from ungodly thoughts and beliefs. But if I insist on watching and listening to ungodly input, I override the very protection God gives me to keep me safe.

Sometimes you have to run to the way out

Fourth, I need to know when I need to run away from a situation. There are times I am not strong enough for the fight. There is no shame in admitting that I can’t be in a certain situation. Paul told Timothy to flee youthful lusts (II Timothy 2:22).

For example, I know that when I am stressed, I often overspend. Since I have had to deal with debt, I know my weaknesses. So I turned off the “buy with one click” option on Amazon because that makes me think about what I’m doing. And I don’t allow myself to scroll shopping sites with no end goal. I can convince myself that I “need” a lot of things when the truth is, I need more time with Jesus.

There are a lot of people for whom online shopping is not a temptation. They aren’t prone to overspending. And they can peruse any place on the internet without fear of overspending. But for me, that is a place that I have to draw the line.

What if I don’t make it to the way out?

The last thing to remember is that while Jesus makes it possible for me to resist temptation and be victorious, there will be times when I fail. There will be times that I yield to temptation and sin. God has provided us a remedy.

The Apostle John says “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us..” (I John 1:10) Those are strong words. I call God a liar if I claim to not sin.

He continues to say “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous (I John 2:1). I love that promise. I don’t have to face the consequences of sin since Jesus already took my sin to the cross.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that this life is like a race, and many have already run it well and are waiting on us to finish. He tells us to “rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (12:1-2)

Learn from your mistakes

If my friends and I were to return to the escape room and run the same scenario again, we would find the way out. We might even set a record for finishing quickest. Why? Because we know the pitfalls and we know where the escape hatch is.

If we learn to follow these principles, we can face temptation with that same confidence. Jesus will show us the way out.


All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 2020.

Lisa Crowe

Lisa recently retired from the State of NC where she served families of children with disabilities, and now spends her time writing and serving missionaries as Partner Services Advocate for MAP Global, an international mission sending agency. She serves as Prayer Team Director for her local church and leads a Ladies Bible Study. Lisa loves to travel, read, and hike the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. She shares her Canton NC home with her two dogs Daisy and Bernie. You can connect with Lisa on Facebook or Instagram where she microblogs.

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