So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No tempt- ation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it... - 1st Corinthians 10:12-13
I like the NIV translation of this passage because it provides for we moderns a clearer picture of how temptation is to be dealt with, that being one of standing firm. The King James Version and New KJV use the terminology of "bearing" as one would bear a heavy load. This wording was probably more appropriate for its time and place when it was first put that way - in a day and age where people had more physical loads to bear. But now we live in a service-industry world - more and more we have found ways to not lift such loads, and as such, standing is perhaps the better metaphor to use in this context.
Standing for something is not usually the easiest thing to do. Usually, its easiest to sit silent with the rest of the crowd. When you stand, you stand out, you are different, and you better be ready to stick with what you're standing for, defending it to the end. For to sit would be the ultimate failure. Whether you take a stand against abortion, a stand for Islam, or a stand for the Red Sox, you are always going to quickly find those who stand for something else entirely. And so, despite your beliefs or associations, its usually easiest just to sit.
Temptation is no different. It's easiest to just sit and give in. Temptation most times finds us where we are already sitting, and caters to us at that precise location. For us to resist temptation in those areas we already clearly take a stand against is easy - and so temptation, most times, appeals to those areas we have already taken a lax stance on. To give in requires little shift in our position.
But how then are we to resist the temptations that find us at our weak spots? We are to stand.
Easier said than done...how are we supposed to stand when its so tough?
Riiight...and when I can't stand firmly?
Well, there's a way out.
Good, so I have the option to sit.
Not exactly. Note that the way out isn't provided so that you can take a seat. It says "...he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." The way out is just another encouragement to stand. That's all.
The simple fact of the matter is that there is no escaping temptation - no sitting while it passes by. Oscar Wilde put it best, "The only way to get rid of temptation is to give into it." We all will face it at some point, and we never have a valid excuse for succumbing to temptation - for, as previously promised, we will not face any temptation that exceeds our ability to withstand it.
So...will we be perfect? No - that's why we have Christ, the ultimate "way out," authoring and perfecting our faith for us. And because we have that, the promise of ultimate perfection, our response is a joyful attempt at perfection. This is the paradox of the Christian life - we aim at nothing less than perfection, knowing that we can't attain it, but also knowing that we will attain it, in the end.
And so, against all temptations, we are to stand.
...Scripture testifies that believers have to contend in this life with various doubts of the flesh and that under severe temptation they do not always experience [the] full assurance of faith and certainty of perseverance. But God, the Father of all comfort, "does not let them be tempted beyond what they can bear...", and by the Holy Spirit revives in them the assurance of their perseverance. -- The Canons of Dort, 5th point, 11th Article