There are several verses of Scripture that are so abused as to make them take on a whole, incorrect life of their own. One such verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard well-intentioned folks (including some preachers!) who have said that this verse means that “God won’t put more on you than you can handle”, I could make at least a sizable house payment! So lets just take a look at the verse:
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.
First off – this verse is Paul addressing the sin, and the great temptation to sin in the Corinthian culture. Sin was all around the believers – pretty much any kind of fleshly fulfillment one could imagine was available and even promoted in the city of Corinth – a major city with a reputation for “the flesh”. But the kind of sins really isn’t as important as the fact that members of the Corinthian church were giving in to them.
So Paul is addressing temptation to sin, not simply all the burdens and hardships we might face.
Second, Paul wrote that WITH temptation (God does allow us to be tempted), He also gives a way of escape – in other words – temptation WILL come – even strong temptation. But, no temptation He allows in our life are more powerful than the way of escape He will always provide. Or more simply – regardless of the temptation we may face, there is always a way to avoid giving in.
It’s a shame that so many Christians make this passage into a proof that God won’t gives us more trouble than we can handle, yet they regularly give in to temptation to the sins that “so easily beset them”. Or – they place blame on God for somehow not stepping in to prevent them from sinning.
Every bad/sinful decision we make – God has an alternative, even if we refuse to see it and follow it. One of the classic examples I have heard and like to use: A recovering alcoholic struggles with temptation to drink again. Depending on where he or she works and lives, they might pass by bars and liquor stores regularly. The way of escape is to not stop in the first place – don’t put yourself in a position to even experience the added temptation!
The point is, don’t put yourself in a position to have your temptation level ratcheted up! That being said – there are some episodes of temptation that can surprise you. One can mistype a web site URL by one letter and sometimes find themselves on a nefarious web page with pornography or other immoral content. All at once, some might experience temptation – yet there is a simple “way of escape” – close the window! If that doesn’t work – turn off the computer! Pull the power cord! You do not have to continue gazing at the content.
If you particular sin might be called gluttony – maybe you should avoid buffet restaurants!
Maybe your particular weakness is related to spending money. If so – then maybe bookmarking your favorite places to shop is a bad idea!
I must say from my own personal experience – God can and indeed will allow you more than you can bear – alone. Many times I have been in situations that I could not have endured on my own. But God gave me the path to endure.