When we are tempted, God sees the end of the temptation (our escape) at the same time He sees the beginning of the temptation. When the test begins, God knows the way out. He doesn’t figure it out as we go along. Because Christ Himself was tempted, “He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). He is able to come to our aid immediately when we are tempted because He has already “been there and done that.” He knows the way of escape and has it ready for us.
One of the things I have been learning as I get older is that temptation is not so much a matter of what we don’t do as much as a matter of who we love. When we come to know the Lord Jesus, and we cultivate within our hearts a relationship of intimacy with Him, that in itself will keep us from many faults and many sins. His heroic image as the One who knew no sin becomes a powerful beacon for us. His ways of escape become ours through the indwelling of His Spirit. When we are living in fellowship with Him daily, it is hard to consider grieving Him, our Lord and best friend, by giving in to temptation. He becomes more than a preacher of do’s and don’t’s—He becomes the way of escape who is always with us.
One further admonition born of experience: With every temptation we ever face there is a point when we know the way of escape is before us. If we choose not to take it, it will not be there later. There is “a way” (singular) of escape. We must take it when God shows it to us. Not to take it is an indication that we didn’t want to escape to begin with, which raises another level of concern about our desire to obey God in the first place.
The word “escape” which Paul uses was sometimes used in Greek to describe a very narrow passage through which one passed—like the steep walls of a canyon which defined a very narrow passage through a rugged bit of terrain. The way of escape is like that. It is a single, narrow choice which must be made. There are not alternate ways out of that canyon of temptation. If we are going to get out, we have to take the one path that is provided. To turn and go a different way means being stuck in that place of temptation with no other escape.
Jeremiah, David. 2001. Facing the Giants in Your Life: Study Guide. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.