A while back, my Aunt Rachel posted a challenge on Facebook for anyone to find where in the Bible it says that God will not put more on us than we can bear. There were many responses to this post. Several people pointed to 1 Cor. 10:13. Many responded to this in the same way I initially would have at first. After researching online, I agreed with the masses that this passage states that we will not be tempted beyond what we can endure, not that God will not put more on us than we can handle. After this morning’s bible study in a great book by Joyce Meyer (Battlefield of the Mind), I believe I have changed my perspective on this topic and now believe wholeheartedly that the Bible does in fact say that God will not put more on us than we can bear. The error is in our interpretation rather than the passage and our narrow mindedness in not looking further into what the Bible actually says. I would like to discuss two specific passages:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’ ” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ” The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.”
Luke 4:1-13 NIV
In reading these two passages, I realized that the answer was right in front of me if I only opened my mind and heart to God and His answers rather than man’s simplistic interpretation. Luke 4 says that immediately after being baptized, Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and was tempted and passed the temptations of Satan. That is a beautifully simplistic interpretation in my opinion. What I don’t read in this is where God went into the wilderness with him. I believe this is because he didn’t. That may seem harsh to think about, but the fact is, God does not enter into our temptations until we invite him in. He is loving like that. How many times have you had a friend or family member that finds out that you are struggling in some way and they automatically have all the answers for you and then you find yourself making their decisions rather than your own? While they are good intentioned, God gave us free will and the ability to choose for a reason. When we relegate that to someone else, we are no longer following our path, but theirs. God invites us to follow his path, but allows us to choose not to. Therefore, he stands aside until we invite Him in.
In this passage from Luke, we see many times that Jesus is tempted. In each of these instances, we do not read where God gave him the answer. Instead, we read where Jesus chose God as the answer. Now this still does not show how God will not put more on us than we can bear. So where does it say that? 1 Cor. 10:13.
I know I just said earlier that this verse does not say this, but it really does if we know where to invite God in. If we interpret the word “temptation” to mean Satan’s invitation to struggle or trials, then it is fair to say that each time Satan tempted Jesus he was inviting Jesus to struggles. Let’s break down each of the temptations listed in the wilderness for a moment:
Satan invites Jesus to ask God to turn stone into bread. If Jesus chose to do that and believe that he should live on bread alone, his struggle would then come when the bread ran out and he did not know where to turn to be fed other than by bread.
Satan tempted Jesus with kingdoms to rule through authority if he will just worship Satan. The struggle comes in the realization that authority alone does not lead man. Influence and wisdom leads man. If Jesus had chosen this course, he would have lost the influence and wisdom of God and struggled.
Satan invited Jesus to throw himself from a high place and trust that God and his angels would lift him up. Now this one is a bit harder to see at first. Satan points out that it is written that God will do this, so why fear it? As Jesus says, it is also written not to test God. If Jesus had chosen to do as Satan commanded, he would have struggled surly for testing God.
In each case, Jesus did not invite God in at the point of trial and turmoil, he invited God in at the initial temptation and made his decisions based in God in the first place to avoid the trials and struggles that would surly come had he made the opposite decision. God gives us a way out of the trials by allowing us to endure the temptation in the first place by inviting him into the conversation.
Having been recently baptized myself, I find that I am walking in my own wilderness with my own temptations. Am I making good choices? Many people would say no… But therein lies the problem, other people. How can another man know the path that God has set out for me or the paths that I am meant to cross or the struggles I am meant to endure? Simply put, they can’t. They can give perspective, but not answers. Only God can give answers. As I walk through my own wilderness and face my own temptations, I pray that I am strong enough and wise enough to invite God into the moment of temptation as Jesus did rather than always waiting until the trials and struggles hit and begging for His mercy and grace only after I have initially shut Him out. I do find a bit of comfort in this thought and in knowing that God will not put more on me than I can bear IF I remember to invite Him in when it matters rather than when it is too late