Today’s scripture reading takes me to a verse that has been a promise given to me 50+ years ago while I was in early high school. It is I Corinthians 10:13. It says: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. 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.”
When I was first introduced to this scripture I remember thinking that this is the promise God is giving me that all of my brother’s sexual abuse could be endured. God would provide a way out and that would be when I left home to go to college. I’d endure it until then. At this point it was about sin done to me. But, then as I was physically/sexually developing I started having sexual thoughts which would sometimes go down a path of homosexuality as well as heterosexuality. The scripture said “common to man”. Well, this certainly didn’t seem common to anyone except my brother and now me. Instead of addressing this, I pushed it aside and lived with the part of the scripture I could draw strength from.
Most of my life I found this scripture mysterious rather than helpful. Things like, “I wouldn’t be tempted beyond what I could bear just didn’t seem true or finding a way out never happened. Once I got to college, yes, the physical & sexual abuse had ended but I was trapped in a world of secrets, confusion and beliefs about myself that scared me to death. All I could think to do was: do good, be good and hope for the best.
What I’ve come to understand about God’s promise in this scripture is where the promise resides. The strength to do all the scripture tells is in the spiritual realm. That is where sin was conquered. I wanted God to give me physical/mental strength to fight this battle and then I’d plead with Him to remove the temptation since the temptations wouldn’t go away. In order for me to access the strength of the promise I had to surrender my efforts of fighting to things like: confess the temptation, call my accountability, walk away from the setting where the temptation is taking place. This thing didn’t need physical/mental strength, the temptation needed me to surrender my pride and confess the truth of it to someone I trust. In so doing, God’s promise comes true. The temptation flees as Satan can’t stand in the presence of God’s Light. This step of obedience allowed God’s Light to penetrate the darkness of the temptation. I’ve also learned that this action on my part isn’t a one time thing. It needs to happen each time the temptations arise.
Is this common to man? Good grief, I don’t know of a single man who doesn’t fight sinful battles. Each one of us has to learn to surrender and give up our pride so we can see the miraculous work of God’s promises come true.!