24 March, 2010

Debunking a Myth

Today I received a phone call from someone asking me to point them to the scripture that says, "God will not put more on you than you can handle." We all have said it... we preachers have used it.
But there is a problem... It's not in the Bible!

Some of you are probably recoiling right now, thinking, "Pastor D has done flipped his lid!" But it's myth busting day here on the Dawg Howse. There simply is no scripture found within the Word of God that says that "God will not put more on you than you can handle."
Again, we've heard it all our lives.... we've said it... but it is not there.

So, what does the Bible say?
The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13, where it says "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]."

Let's look at that again from the New Living Translation: "But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it."

There is an incredibly strong truth in this passage, that God will not allow Satan to bring temptation, (the seduction to sin) into our lives that is just too much for us to resist it. What it says that when we are tempted to sin, God always has a way of escape for us! That's powerful! But it does not say that we won't have problems that are too big for us. This misconception leaves many questioning why they are not able to handle their problems. They have been given a false understanding because someone taught them that God would never put more on them than they can handle... so they are easy prey for the accuser (Satan) to come in telling them that either (1) they are less of a Christian than they ought to be, or (2) God is not a God of His Word.

The truth is, that as I read the Bible, I find time after time after time that God allowed his people to walk into pressure filled situations that was just too much for them to handle... ON THEIR OWN.
Before you label me a heretic, consider the story of Elijah, the great prophet of God who spoke the word that it would not rain until he said so... and it did not rain. The same man who had a showdown with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and on foot, out ran the horse drawn chariots. We find this same mighty man of God just a day later laying under a broom tree, depressed and asking the Lord to just take his life. He could not take any more. Pay particular attention to 1 Kings 19:7 where it says: "The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” (Read... it is too much for you to handle!) My point is, there are times when God does allow more trouble in our lives that we can handle or bear alone. We have got to understand that there is a reason and a purpose for this. When we are embattled with trials and pressure that are too big for us to handle on our own, then we realize that we have nowhere else to go than to the Lord. We come to the realization that there is only one answer, and that is to put our hope and trust in Christ alone.

Paul addressed this well in 2 Corinthians chapter 1:6-11 (NLT)
"Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. 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. 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. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety."

Notice that he said that they were "overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure" but then he offers the answer... "But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned only to rely on God..." Paul acknowledges that God allowed him to walk through a time of peril and trouble so great that he could not bear it alone, which caused him to turn his full focus on the power and ability of God... which allowed God to work out his perfect will in the situation.

If you are being pushed, weighted down and challenged to the end of your rope and you feel you cannot do handle it anymore... PLEASE stop believing that you can! You can't.. not alone anyway.
Jesus said that apart from him we can do nothing. Let that sink in. Nothing!

We must come to the place where we realize that it is futile for us to try anything in this life without trusting completely in the power of God to help us.
Do you realize that God knows that we are weak, but he has made himself available to us if we will only humble ourselves and call out to him and trust Him to do and bring about what is best for us?

Remember that song we sang as children?
Jesus loves me! this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak but He is strong.

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