More Than You Can Handle of What?
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” – 1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” -NLT
“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” -NKJV
I’m going to guess you’re thinking, “Why did he post the same verse three times?”. Notice some of the words (or phrases) that show up in all three: temptation, faithful, way out/of escape. I chose three translations of the Bible that are pretty common, to give a representative sample.
This verse is the one that many people stand on to say “God won’t give you more than you can handle”. I would know, I thought that way until I studied that verse in preparation for one of our previous posts. This verse is very specific though: it says ‘temptation’, not ‘trial’. The idea of never having more trials or storms in life than you can handle at one time is nowhere in the Bible. You will have in your life, at least once, a time in which you cannot make it on your own, when your strength does nothing.
In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus tells the parable of building a house on a foundation of rock vs. a foundation of sand. At my last employment, there was a very nice lodge built in 2000, on a hillside facing the lake. The soil was sandy though, and to go even further, the contractor who originally built it did not compact the sand before laying down the foundation. As a result, the walls are cracking, the foundation is cracking and leaking, tiles in the showers are popping off due to the flex, doors are no longer shutting right, all because it is gradually settling. It did not have a proper foundation. In the parable, building your ‘foundation’ upon your faith in Jesus and His teachings is building upon the rock. Building your foundation in life upon yourself and your strength without God is building on the sand. There will be times in your life, like I mentioned, where you could not do it yourself. The only way to get through it is to go to God daily for His strength, and He will get you through it.
Back to the original verse though- this verse implies temptation will come, but not excessively. Trials you cannot do alone; temptation, it says, you can. Don’t get me wrong, we should always go to God with our troubles. But temptation deals with your character: it reveals what you do and who you are when nobody is around to hold you accountable. You can withstand temptation by yourself, because it states 1) it’s not going to be more than normal and 2) God has already given you a way to escape it! The way of escape is usually in our will power; our determination to stay following Christ and mimic His character. If we are regularly giving in to temptation, it’s not because ‘it’s too much’, it’s because our focus is wrong. If you struggle with temptation, know you don’t have to. God always gives us a way out, a feasible way out. No matter what your temptation is (lust, gossip, anger, gluttony, whatever), you can get over it. Get some friends to keep you accountable, meet with them. Find verses that talk about what you’re dealing with, memorize and apply those. Have a vision of who you want to be in Christ– as ultimately, that temptation has the potential to make it or break it. If you want to be a mature believer in Christ following His will, it starts now; with your decision to go to those websites or not, or to spread those rumors about that person you can’t stand or not, or to be a good steward of your resources or not, and so on.
The BOTTOM LINE: Trials will come that you can’t handle-only God can get you through them. Temptations, on the other hand, you can handle as God always provides a way out for you.