“God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Have you ever heard this? Or maybe you’ve said it to yourself or someone you know. I’ve heard this, or variations of it, for years. It’s something people often say as an encouragement in the midst of a rough or busy time of life.
Yet it isn’t actually found in the Bible. In fact, it isn’t even biblical. It’s a misquote of something far more interesting and powerful.
The misquoted statement comes off like a motivational slogan. “You can do it, just try harder.”
But behind all of this is a subtle message that is really un-biblical and untrue: you don’t need God, you can do this on your own.
But the truth is that we are fallen sinners in need of a savior. The world will regularly offer up circumstances that threaten to crush us, and the solution is not self-assurance, but surrender.
We turn to Christ and find salvation from our failure and strength beyond our weakness. The Apostle Paul realized this after praying for deliverance from a persistent “thorn in the flesh” and wrote: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) Paul says, “I can’t do this, but Jesus can.”
And in another letter to the same church, he says this of the Gospel, the message of Christ crucified for our sin: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV) The gospel is not a message of empowerment, but release. It’s not about how you are supposed to be good enough, but that even though you never were, He is good enough. Jesus is enough. Jesus can save you.
Back to where we started. The actual verse reads differently than the popular quote: “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) It’s actually an admonition against claiming an excuse that your temptation to sin was too great to resist.
There’s never an excuse. We have a God who loves us, sees our weakness, and is strong on our behalf. He provides a way out when we can’t find it on our own. We don’t fight alone, but turn to Him to find victory.
When life is hard, turn to Jesus. When you are tempted to sin, turn to Him and find the way out.
You may be weak, but God is faithful and will make a way. You don’t have to do it on your own.
Brian Lucas is Co-Lead Pastor at Pax Christian Church