“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” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The Christian faces many trials, tribulations and temptations throughout life, many of which come to us on a daily basis. Sometimes God allows our faith to be tested through personal dilemmas or by problems caused by other people. Other trials are caused by the devil to weaken our commitment to God. Whichever way they come, each one tests our character and resolve. Our text offers us great insight into the area of testing.
Maybe we have missed the word “taken” because we have majored on the other aspects of this verse, but it reveals that Paul is stating that many trials are not of our own making. The word can be translated as “take hold of, to be seized by, or come upon”, and indicated that the trial is a result of circumstances out of our control. We see then that some situations, though engineered by the wickedness of man, are certainly the work of Satan.
Paul is referring to the trials and tribulations which all people suffering whether they are believers or not. We all understand the effect the financial problems that the world is experiencing at the moment, so believers have to pay more for their shopping and fuel as well as the world. Being Christian does not automatically immunise us from seasonal illness either. We see then that it is not sinful to be tested, tried or tempted.
God is faithful. This is an absolute and constant truth that we do well to believe no matter what hardships and problems enter our lives. “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). Where would any of us be if God could not be trusted to be with us each day? “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Because God is faithful, He will not allow any difficulty to come upon us that is beyond our ability to withstand and get the victory over. The text speaks about more than power, but includes the thought that the duration of the trial will never exceed our endurance. Also, the number of them will not be greater than our strength to stand firm, and the burden will not be too heavy. We could say that our trials are tailor made for us, therefore God has given us the opportunity to use our faith in what appears to be overwhelming circumstances.
The “escape” here does not suggest that we can throw in the towel and be free from any further problems. If it did, then what would be the point of faith? Simply put, God has provided the proper exit from trials and testing, all we need to do is do it His way. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). “Satan is never permitted to block up our way, without the providence of God making a way through the wall” (Adam Clarke). The way of escape is the path of obedience we walk upon as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Some moan and complain their way through life and so never get the victory over any trial. They look for a non-existent easy way out, but in fact they are simple walking around the spiritual rut they have carved for themselves. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:9).
If we will accept it, all of our problems are bearable. We do not need a counsellor, doctor or a pill to help us ease our problem, for in fact further sessions and medication destroy the soul rather than remedy the problem. It seems that we live at a time when people cannot cope with life without booze, drugs, cigarettes and potions, but how quick they are to say that Christianity is just a crutch for the weak-willed! Collapse and destruction are a matter of personal choice, therefore as believers we can rise up over all that seeks to destroy us. “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
1 Corinthians 10:1-10 reveals that Israel had all the blessed provisions from God, but that they chose to turn away from Him. They brought all of their problems upon themselves the moment they refused to live by faith. As a result they fell and many were destroyed. They allowed the things of the world to steal away their commitment to the Lord, so without faith they could not stand. Since this is recorded for our edification, God has forewarned us and cautions us to keep our eyes on Him regardless what comes our way. The victory is always ours if we do so. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).