1 Corinthians 10:13 | 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
“It’s perfectly normal to want to keep the money.”
Everybody wants to keep found money, don’t they? Of course they do. And this brings us to what may be THE MOST MISQUOTED VERSE in the Bible.
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.(1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
Have you ever heard this? “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It is completely untrue when applied to your troubles. God will not give you more temptation than you can stand. Troubles, on the other hand… he seems to be okay with giving you more of those than you could ever possibly handle.
We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.(2 Corinthians 1:8 NLT)
The Apostle Paul wrote both of these passages. He wanted the Christians in Corinth to take comfort in the fact that they don’t get special, extra-strength temptations.
Neither do you. You get tempted just like everyone else. But don’t confuse your temptation with your troubles. You have God’s Word that he will not give you more temptation than what you can handle. He will even provide you with a way out when you are staring the temptation in the face. Isn’t that nice of him?
That’s the upside. The downside: you have no excuse when you give in to temptation. So you suspect you may have found the owner of the ten dollar bill, but you kept your mouth shut and held on to it anyway? That’s on you.
Does this mean you are ‘on your own’ when it comes to temptation?
Nope. (And here is some of the best news in all of scripture…) You are never alone. God wants you to turn to him in times of temptation, just as in times of trouble. In fact, that turned out to be the secret of dealing with the crushing troubles Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:8. See what he reveals in the very next verse.
In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.(2 Corinthians 1:9)
Will you be overwhelmed by trouble? Yes, you will. Will you be overwhelmed by temptation? Yes, you will (because, seriously…). When that happens, take Paul’s cue and learn to rely on God.
Questions for Group Discussion
- What are your strongest temptations? Lying? Cheating? Gossiping?
- What makes one thing more tempting to you than another? What if something is socially acceptable, but you know it is not right? What if it takes much more effort to do the right thing? Is it harder to fight temptation in private matters than in public ones?
- Can something be okay for you, but not for someone else? Give an example.
- Has anyone ever told you, “God won’t give you more than you can handle”? Have you ever said that? Why does it matter that it applies specifically to temptation?
Sweet Victory: Challenge
“If you don’t want to eat so much chocolate cake, don’t keep one in your refrigerator.” There is a certain amount of wisdom in that advice.
Let’s see how much!
- Choose something that tempts you. Choose something basically harmless. (See guidelines below.) This is supposed to be fun!
- Keep the temptation easily accessible for three days. If it’s chocolate cake, keep it in the fridge; if it’s gum, keep it in your pocket; and so on.
- Make a note each time you are tempted. Use your phone’s voice recorder or carry a small notebook. Be sure to record whether you succeed or fail, along with any other observations about why.
- Review your notes each evening, and pray for God’s help. Ask for God to reveal some insight that will apply to larger temptations you face and how to rely on him for victory in those situations as well.
- Have fun! If this challenge ceases to be fun, stop immediately and make some notes about why. Otherwise, enjoy. Either way, feel free to share the results of your experience here on this page.
- Choose a ‘safe’ temptation. For example, don’t choose chocolate cake if you are struggling with an eating disorder or have diabetes. Also, don’t choose anything illegal or otherwise unsafe. Our aim is for you to experience a small victory with minimal risk. Our hope is that you will gain some insights into how temptation presents itself and how you respond to it, while practicing taking your temptation to God in prayer.
- Don’t skip the notetaking or prayer. These are arguably the most important elements of the challenge.
- If the challenge seems daunting, re-evaluate your choice of temptation.