There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it — I Corinthians 10:13 (KJV)
It is part of life in this fallen world. Anyone who lives long enough will experience trials, temptations, and other pressures. While some people seem to prosper in an atmosphere of crisis, others feel crushed by the weight of it all.
Solid believers in Christ are not exempted from temptation and trials. In some cases, they seem to be more of a target, because the ‘prince of this world,’ Satan, wants to attack and take them off track. The entire epistle of I Peter is devoted to the suffering church and how it can ‘survive and thrive.’
If we want to be ‘future-ready,’ we need a Biblical perspective on how to handle pressures and trials.
First, God allows temptations into our life for redemptive purposes. It helps to build faith and character. Also it brings refinement. When one is tempted, they are not entertaining lusty, fleshly thoughts. Psalm 119:67 says it well: Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Like an incinerator, temptation burns all the rubbish!
The contents of the heart are revealed by external pressures. You don’t know the colour of the toothpaste until you squeeze the tube. James 1:2-3 says to ‘count it all joy’ when you fall in to various temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience. Patience brings maturity, fruitfulness, and a fully equipped servant of God.
In order to survive and succeed in the days ahead, it is vital that we continue to draw insight and strength from the Scriptures. A gem of a verse is found in I Corinthians 10:13, as mentioned above. Here are some insights from this amazing passage:
1. Universal experience: When facing pressure, it is easy to think you are the only one going through the trial. Often, the refrain is: ‘Nobody understands what I’m going through ….’ It may be correct that your immediate circle of friends are not going through what you are. Yet this verse says that somewhere, someone, indeed many, are walking the same trail with the same trial. No one’s trial is utterly unique, as much as it may seem that way. This verse says ‘There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man;’ so remember you are not alone. Your trial is shared by others.
2. God is faithful: Believers should have not doubt about this - God is always faithful. Even if people fail, falter and fall, God will never. His faithfulness includes being present with us at all times (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5ff), especially in times of trial. Remember the famous story of ‘The Footprints?’ A believer sees his life in a time-line across the sand, where he and the LORD are walking together. Most of the time, there are two set of footprints on the sand, ostensibly his and the LORD’s. Yet, during times of trial, there was only one set of footprints. Assuming these remaining footprints are his, the believer questions why the LORD ‘forsook’ him during these painful times. The LORD replies: I love you and would never leave you. During your darkest moments, when you saw only one set of footprints, that’s when I carried you. Yes, let God carry you, your problems and future; let Him do all the heavy lifting.
3. Beyond Endurance: Here is a promise worth holding onto. The verse says that the faithfulness of God means He is ever-present with you; it also means He will not allow you to be tempted beyond your own endurance. One person was sharing with me how they went from trial to trial. My response: You must be very strong person because God won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your endurance. They seemed initially puzzled but eventually the penny dropped. Now, of course, a person can be very stubborn, not listening to God or wisdom, and out of love and faithfulness God will allow them to be tempted so that they soften at bit (like marinade softens tough meat). It is always best to listen to God, praise His Name, and obey His counsel. You will find yourself going from valley bottom to mountain top.
4. Way of Escape: Here is another great assurance in this verse. Repeatedly in Scripture, there are promises of escape for the righteous: Noah’s Ark, Isaac’s Rehoboth, Jacob in Peniel and sojourn in Egypt, Joseph’s storehouse, David’s Cave of Adullam, the Name of God as a strong tower, and the secret place of the Most High. Look at Luke 21:36 and Revelation 3:10. God delights to make a way in the wilderness and river in the desert (Isaiah 43:19). For people of faith, when one door slams shut, another springs open. God will provide a way of escape.
5. Perfect endurance: God’s faithfulness, presence, provision, and power means that you can have perfect endurance through the trial because of the way of escape. This endurance will help you hold up during the trial. Grasp this promise; it will see you through everything. Don’t give up because winners never quit. The light truly is at the end of the tunnel. Once you reach it, you’ll forget there was ever a tunnel.