On Sunday mornings this summer, Heritage is exploring different myths commonly believed within Christianity during a “Mythbusters” teaching series. The week after each topic is taught from a biblical perspective, this blog will further dive into the issue at hand. We pray that this teaching series and the blog article that accompanies it will serve to be a resource as you reach your world for Christ.
By: Kathy Johnston
Photo: Heather Michele Photo
“God will never give you more than you can handle!”
Has anyone ever said that to you when you have been in a really dark and difficult time in your life…and you just kind of wanted to punch them in the face?? Lol!
Most likely their intentions were to encourage you and they probably thought they were being helpful…but were they? Even more important…is it really true that God won’t give you more than you can handle?
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “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.”
When you read this Scripture in its original context, you will have a clearer understanding of the idea Paul was trying to get across here.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul was writing to a group of Christians who were caught up in some pretty gnarly sin practices. The believers in Corinth had a reputation for sexual immorality, division, and corruption. Paul describes these believers “not as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:1)
Paul pleads with them and shares the truth of the gospel once again. He reminds them that they are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in them. In their flesh, they have no power against sin…but in Christ, they can be assured that no matter what temptation may come, He will always provide a way to escape the temptation. In Christ, we can say no to sin. Not in our own strength, but through the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us!
Unfortunately, many have taken this Scripture to mean that God won’t allow anything to happen to us that we can’t handle. And so this “out of context” phrase is spoken often to people that are going through some really difficult trials and suffering, not necessarily brought on by sin. We live in a broken world…and broken things are going to happen to us. Even though this little phrase is offered as an encouragement, in reality it becomes a burden because the trials we face can seem humanly impossible to overcome and we feel overwhelmed and defeated.
The list could go on and on; faithful followers of Christ Jesus encounter difficult situations and troublesome circumstances every day. Paul shares this in 2 Corinthians1:8-10:
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.”
So yes…God does give us more than we can handle. He created us to be dependent on Him and His strength, not on ourselves…because we simply weren’t created to be independent from Him. And just like Paul, there most likely will be times that we feel like what we are facing is the sentence of death. But my prayer is this: when I am faced with trials and suffering that seem beyond my strength to handle, that I can say with Paul, it is to make me rely not on myself, but on God, who raises the dead! This is the beautiful message of the gospel! He not only rescues and redeems us and gives us life, but He is with us as we trudge through this world that is not our home. By the power of His always indwelling Spirit, He is enabling us to overcome, and endure with joy, whatever we might face in life. And in the end, God’s glory is magnified through our obedience and trust in Him, even in our suffering. We aren’t here for ourselves! We are here to bring God glory! And it’s up to our Creator what that will look like for eachof us individually.
Jesus modeled this for us so beautifully:
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
“Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Jesus trusted His Father, even to the point of death. And the truth is, there will be many things that come into our lives that we can’t handle in our human strength. But we have an Advocate, One who is always with us and One who is powerful and just. Our hope is in Him, not in this world. He is worthy of our trust.
If you are going through a trial in your life that seems as if it will lead to death, be comforted by the words of our Champion and Redeemer, Jesus Christ:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-17)
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:25-27)
Be brave, my friend…not in your own strength, but in His.