One climber helping another - leaning on God when we can't handle it

When You Can’t Handle It – Thoughts from 1 Corinthians 10:13

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Are you facing something that you feel like you just can’t handle? 

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Sometimes great Scriptures get misquoted an awful lot. This one gets changed up a bit and well-meaning folks often say it this way: “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

That is not what the passage says, is it? In fact, perhaps one of the greatest temptations we face is to think that we can handle anything in this life on our own.

Our track record would prove differently, wouldn’t it? It doesn’t take any of us very long to look into our past to find something we wish we could change. Something we tried to do without God’s help. Every moment we face is one that, without God’s help, we’ll mess up.

I know, I know, that is not what people who say that mean. However, there is a big difference in these two statements:

1.) I can’t handle this.

2.) I can’t handle this without God.

God won’t give us more than we can handle without his help.

If we stop our sentence and never cry out with our dependence on God, we’re nowhere. Wasn’t that the essence of Satan’s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness? Don’t think that Satan tempted his appetites, emotions, mind with anything less than precision accuracy. He saw where he was weak and went after that.

  • You don’t need God to provide for you – do it yourself.
  • It doesn’t look like God’s going to come through … why don’t you find another way?
  • Look what the world has to offer. I’ll give it to you—isn’t that worth considering?

Those temptations have trickled down through the ages and seeped their way into your marriage, too. It doesn’t matter how capable you think you are or how weak you feel. Temptation repellent comes in one package: the Word of God.

It’s what Jesus used to silence the Enemy. It’s what you need, too. When your head turns from your spouse or your back is to your spouse, or both, God is faithful. When you’re thinking of being anything but faithful, God will always be.

No, you can’t handle it. Not on your own, anyway. On your own, you’ll cave under pressure. You’ll make the wrong choice. Without the same Spirit that moved Jesus to rely on God, what are your chances?

Less than zero, if that’s possible.

Jesus said that without his father, he couldn’t do anything. He then said that without him we couldn’t do anything.

The temptation may be intense, but it doesn’t have to overtake you. So, next time you find yourself saying, “I can handle it,” face the fact that you can’t.

God can, though, and he will. You just have to let him rescue you.

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About the Author

Marriage Dynamics Institute

Marriage Dynamics Institute (MDI) wants to cultivate healthy families, churches, and communities by helping create marriages full of joy, meaning, and purpose. Having served more than 75,000 couples since 1994, MDI offers workshops and seminars for marriages at every stage, including those in crisis.