No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
There are several truths bound up in this one thought and I felt that I should consider each of them this morning.
No temptation has overtaken [me] but such as is common to man. Every temptation I have faced, every temptation I am currently facing, every temptation I ever will face is common to humanity. I am not a special snowflake. There are no new temptations created just to mess me up. The same old temptations that have been used since Eden will suffice to cause me no end of grief.
And God is faithful. While I am often faithless, God is faithful. There is even a verse that says almost precisely that. I will fail; fall; lose heart. All people do. God will not. God will remain faithful to me and to what He has begun to work in me until He has completed the work.
God … will not allow [me] to be tempted beyond what [I am] able. This is often misquoted as God not giving me more than I can handle. That is utter nonsense. God frequently gives me more than I can handle on my own. There is no other way to build strength. When I had leisure to frequent the gym and work with a trainer, the trainer would gradually increase the amount of weight I was moving around. The goal was to strengthen the muscles by making them work harder. God will never give me a temptation that I am unable to resist in some fashion — often, the best strategy is to simply flee temptation. That is what this verse is saying. This verse is my guarantee that God is not going to allow a temptation into my life that I cannot resist. There are no offers I cannot refuse. No such thing.
With the temptation [God] will provide the way of escape also, so that [I] will be able to endure it. The actual term seems, according to the concordance, to mean “the exit.” Years ago, “The Matrix” came along and included the line “I need an exit.” God provides me with an exit from temptation. The reason? So that I can bear up under the weight of the temptation. If I know that a time of suffering has a definite end, it is much easier to look to that end and endure. Those who have trained know this well. The training for anything has definite ends. A workout; a class; a course; everything that trains us has a definite end. We look to those ends as both the moment when we will have achieved our goal and the moment that our hardship will end.
So, I face common temptations permitted by a faithful God Who will not allow any temptations that I cannot resist and will provide me an exit; a definite end to the time of temptation so that I am able to endure and to flee the temptation. Just your common, Garden(of Eden)-variety temptations. Nothing for which God has not provided an exit.