God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Bear Is Not In The Bible But He Will Help You Stand In Temptation
Editor’s Note: The following is taken from the post “That’s Not In The Bible - “God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Bear” published on this blog in August 2016.
There are a lot of quotes and sayings that well meaning people, even Christians, believe are in Bible but aren’t. We’ve heard many of these things over the years in church, from our parents, other relatives, friends, and other people we respect. Most of these quotes are not bad in themselves most of them are meant to encourage and inspire, but some of them are direct contradictions of scripture. Sometimes what we don’t really know about what’s in the Bible can actually hurt us when we confuse something that “sounds like it came from the Bible” with biblical truth.
A lot of things that you hear Christians, even Christian leaders, say that are in the Bible are not there, and if they are not there they don’t carry the authority of Scripture.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Psalm 119:89 (NKJV) Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV) The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."
One of those quotes or phrases that we hear a lot is; “God will never give you more than you can bear”. That sounds like something that would be in the bible doesn’t it? Certainly God, who we know loves us wouldn’t let us go through situations that stretch our abilities as human beings to handle or understand. Things like being struck with a debilitating illness in the prime of life, one of our children dying young, losing a job right after you go into major debt, the promising start-up company that hires you to lead their growth suddenly close down, facing foreclosure, why is your spouse saddled with chronic illness ending in death, and all this happening one right after the other? All of these things happened to my wife and me.
Those are things that we really can’t bear, but since we have been taught that we shouldn't question God or ask why, we try the find something in the Bible, or what sounds like scripture so that we can try and make sense of what’s happening, and to rationalize it.
Well I hate to tell you this, “God will never give you more than you can bear”, isn’t in the Bible it is a misquote of;
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG) No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.
The Greek word Paul used is that is translated temptation is peirasmos which can also be translated “testing.” or “trial”. Practically speaking, this term could be translated “temptation and testing.”.
The statement that “God will never give you more than you can bear” is wrong because God does not bring or give, His children, temptations, trials, or tests. Every temptation is a test; every test is a temptation and while God allows them they don’t come from Him.
James 1:13-15 CEV Don't blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn't use evil to tempt others. We are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us. Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead.
Temptation and sin constantly test us today so we look to the Bible and in it we find that Paul told the Christians in Corinth that God is faithful and that He give us the ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that is in us, to withstand the temptation and the consequences of sin.
This is not an escape from temptation, nor simply a hope of strength to overcome in the future, but a present power to endure in the midst of temptation, a glorious promise for the sorely tried. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
He does make a way of escape the temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit who is in us.
John 14:16-17 (NKJV)16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Romans 8:11 (NKJV)11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Hebrews 2:17-18 (NKJV)17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Temptations are a lot different for the trials and tribulations that come upon us, often without warning, in this fallen world. Some, in fact many of them, come as a consequence of our own actions. The premise of this saying suggests that a God who loves us would never let us get past the breaking point. When some well meaning person says to us “God will never give you more than you can bear” and the reality is that you have reached the point of exhaustion and are about to lose it, you start to think that God is either a masochist, doesn’t really know how much you can bear, or that there is something wrong with you because you’re overwhelmed and God isn’t helping.
Here is what Paul was telling the believers in Corinth;
God will not allow you to be tried above the strength he gives you; but as the trial comes, he will provide you with sufficient strength to resist it. You can be sure that there is a way out, just as there was a way in; and that the trial shall never be above the strength that God shall give you to bear it. When Paul says he won’t give what is beyond what you are able, he means, not beyond what you are able with God’s help. Those of us who are helped are not independent of the power of God. He will never let us stumble or fail so that we don’t recover. In other words, he will never let a test or trial cause us to lose our salvation. We know that because of a couple of other things in Scripture..
John 6:39 (NKJV)39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV)31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NKJV) And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
1 Corinthians 15:10 (NKJV)10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
The Question Then Is What Do You Do When Things Get Too Much To Bear
Jesus tells us to come Him;
Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
David, who we know had all sorts of problems in his life told us to give them to the Lord;
Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
He tells us to help each other;
Galatians 6:1-5 (NKJV)1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who arespiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.5 For each one shall bear his own load.
It’s pretty clear that God doesn’t expect any person to handle everything that comes to them alone. The Scriptures never say that God won’t give you more that you can handle what they do say is that if you trust God He will be with you through it.
God Will Help You To Stand In Temptation
Editor’s Note: This section is from the YouVersion Reading Plan Uncaged by Pastor Jud Wilhite from his book Uncaged: Released to live in the Freedom of God’s Promises.
One of the greatest obstacles to enjoying the uncaged life is our ongoing struggle with temptation. No matter how spiritually mature or devoted we are to following Jesus, as human beings, we will always face temptations. Understanding and appropriating God’s promises, however, can empower us in this battle. We can accept his grace and live in his power to find freedom.
We’re all baffled at our own behavior at times. Maybe you need to control your temper, stop tearing into people, or blowing up. But then that person starts driving you crazy again, pushing your buttons. You know that guy or girl is no good for you. You know you should get to church on the weekend. You know what you should do, but you are constantly tempted to cave. Paul bottom-lines it for us: “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong” (Romans 7:21). The struggle with temptation is baked right into life. Wanting what’s right but doing what’s not right. But Paul gives us the ultimate solution to our sin problem: “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25).
Our freedom has been won on the cross, but we still struggle to live in that freedom. It’s a battle to grow into the person you really are in Christ. But you don’t resist temptation to hang onto your salvation. You resist it to grow, thrive, and receive all of the good things God wants to give you. That’s why I’m grateful for this promise of God: I will help you stand in temptation.
God is aware of the temptations you face. I don’t believe he leads you to sin, but he does allow temptation and testing. In fact, the term temptation can also be translated “trial.” God sees to it that no temptation will be too much for you to bear. He always shows you a way out. Resisting temptation is not like flipping a switch. You’re caught in a spiritual battle! You have a spiritual adversary who wants to hold you down in destructive habits and make you lose sight of God’s promises. And you don’t have to look for the fight—the fight will find you. You will find yourself facing difficulties you don’t understand. Yet, difficulty teaches humility, which empowers your future victory. Don’t let the testing become a ground to give into temptation. Stand firm on the promise that he will show you a way out and that victory is possible.
Live free in the promise: I will stand with you in temptation
Romans 7:21-25 NIV So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 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.
Ephesians 6:12 NIV For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.