Freedom House Church and Healing Centre

God is able...I'm not

God is able…I’m not

Greetings Saints,

The recent fridge magnet read, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much”. Sounds cute! It was now the third or fourth time this week that I heard the supposed verse, “God will never give me more than I can handle” mantra, often spoken by people who are going through some trial they find too much to handle. It is such a common saying that it has seem to become the “Christian’s” go to phrase when life gets too uncomfortable for them. This pedestrian little phrase is so commonplace that most people even believe it to be true. The reality is that God never said it at all, nor is it scriptural. The paraphrase is most likely taken from 1Corinthians 10:13 which reads, “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” (New King James). Here is a translation that many like to read from, the NLT (New Living Translation): “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.” No verse of scripture should be lifted out of its context. In context, chapter 10 of 1st Corinthians is describing the sins of the Israelites as they wandered through the desert during the Exodus from Egypt. Many sins are listed: craving evil things (vs. 6); idolatry (vs. 7); immorality (vs. 8); testing the Lord (vs. 9); grumbling (vs. 10). And for these reasons, the Israelites suffered severe consequences. Then Paul says that all these things happened for our example and instruction, so that we as believers in Christ would not follow the disobedience of God’s people of old (vs. 11). Then there is a warning to the individual Christian to beware lest one falls into sin like the Israelites did (vs. 12). Now verse 13 is an encouragement to believers when one is tempted to sin; let me repeat…tempted to sin, which every person on planet earth experiences (“common to man”). God is faithful. His grace is sufficient for any temptation. God does not tempt us (James 1:13), but He may allow temptations in our life so that we deal with sin and issues that cause us to stumble. But, in those temptations, He always provides a way out, even as Jesus taught us to pray: “And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13). God allows the temptation, but also provides the grace to be delivered from the assault of satan, as He did with Job, and Jesus. How was Jesus delivered from the temptation of the evil one? By standing on the word of God (Matt. 4). The word of God is our primary defense against temptation – God the Holy Spirit will remind us of the truth of what God has said, giving us a choice to obey the word of God, or obey the temptation to sin. According to 1Corinthians 10:13, God will make a way of escape visible, but He will not choose it for us. We are ultimately able to resist the temptation to sin, or even though His grace is sufficient, we are able to choose to sin. The very next verse is clear, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1Cor. 10:14). The choice is ours to either succumb to temptation or resist and flee. Let us not miss the truth being taught that God will provide a “way of escape” (NLT) so that we can “endure” the continued onslaught from the enemy. And it is not always the enemy who is tempting, it is often we who never remove the temptation – whether it be a bottle of liquor, access to the forbidden website, wandering eyes, loose lips that blurt out what should not be spoken, etc. In every circumstance God is speaking to us to through Holy Spirit to our spirit, to resist and deal with the temptation to sin. God’s grace, His enabling power in us is more than sufficient to overcome.

Now, back to the saying, “God will never give me more than I can handle”. I hope this is not true and I know it is not. For if it is true, I will never discover the all-powerful God of the impossible who can destroy giants and move mountains. The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ” (Phil. 4:13) and “with God, all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). God gives all the leaders of the Bible more than they can handle so that God might be magnified through them. Even the great Apostle Paul realized in his weakness, that God was able and strong: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2Cor. 12:9). Again Paul writes, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 6:20). For the follower of Jesus, God is able because God is in us. We only have the power when we let God do what He is able to do – that requires submission and obedience to Him. I don’t necessarily agree with the fridge magnet that indicates “God trusts us”. I would however agree that God trusts Him in us, if we let Him lead and submit to His working through us. God is able to do incredible things through a surrendered man or woman, when he or she gets out of the way and lets Him do His thing. Our theology (or fridge magnet saying) on the whole matter should be something like this: “When it comes to temptation and overcoming sin, I thank you Jesus that you have paid the penalty for my sins and give me the power to resist and flee from sin, always providing a way of escape… when it comes to difficult situations and hard challenges in life, I thank you Lord that your grace is sufficient to face every trial that comes my way.” A little long for a fridge magnet, but here is the conclusion: “God is able…I’m not; thank God He is in me”. 

Be encouraged...God is for you, with you, and in you; giants and mountains beware!

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