Tuesday, July 27, 2010


'...you might be in a valley, be coming out a valley, or about to enter a valley...'
-Perry Noble

'Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you...Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'
-Spirit of the Lord (2nd Chronicles 20)

Perry Noble did a 5 week series a while back called the 'Five Lies of the Devil'. In the first week he talks about the first lie: 'God will never put more on us than we can handle'. He points out that most well-meaning people and even pastors will use that very phrase to offer some sort of hope-I know I have, and that they got it wrong-he admits he had it wrong too.
The scripture that is often refered to and used is from 1st Corinthians 10:13 which reads: 'No temptation has seized 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 stand up under it.'
Now, the question becomes...where did we go wrong in our interpretation of the verse itself. I personally think it comes from how we were brought up to think-you and I have been conditioned by today's society and culture to shrug off our need for God's help. It comes back to how we rationalize and justify things in our mind and how we try to convince others and ourselves that we're still 'in control'.
So Perry is covering 5 lies that Christians believe and the first one deals with the contextual issue of the above scripture verse. If you re-read it, the verse doesn't say that you won't have to deal with temptation-we all know we do and will, rather, it says 'tempted beyond what you can bear'. Meaning, there's a choice that has yet to be made concerning the temptation-whether it be to cheat on a test in school, call in sick to work so you can sleep in, or make change in the offering plate as it's passed.
The verse is simply saying that you will be tempted, but you have options.
Too often we use this verse or reference it to give comfort to someone who is in the midst of a crisis or to give comfort to ourselves-forgetting that the choice has already been made and the situation we find ourselves in is a direct reflection of the choice we may have made or haven't made. Confused? Don't be. Re-read the scripture again and tell me if you agree. *It's okay if you don't, you won't hurt my feelings. This is merely my thoughts and opinions-I just happen to agree with Perry on this one.
One last time, it doesn't say that we won't face problems in our lives, but it does say that we have choices and options that will either make our lives more complicated or easier-by what we decide to do and decide not to do. It can be confusing at times and I will be the first to admit I misused the above scripture to give others comfort-not knowing I too was spreading the lie around.
A bad situation, though tragic, doesn't have to remain that way or get worse. If we give up the thought that we're 'in control' and realize our dependence on God- things become clearer. Maybe not easier at first, but once we trust in Him and get out of our rut we can begin to see things in a whole new way (Romans 12:1-2 NLT)
So the challenge here is to give up and give into God (Matthew 11:30). God may put more on our plate than we can actually handle (2nd Chronicles 20), but perhaps it's because God is trying to get our attention-perhaps our relationship has suffered and we no longer rely on Him.
Perhaps He is using your situation to break you down...He may be trying to bring you to your knees or even face down in order to bring you back to where you should be. If  this is you, know that 'the battle is not yours, but God's' (2nd Chronicles 20:15).  *Remember: Phil. 4:13


Anonymous said...

Jeff, First off who makes change?
so God allows us to be tempted by Satan? and it is up to us to make our own choices on temptation how deep of a mess we can get in to?
what I don't understand is how is this different than God allowing burdens like sickness and grief in are lives? Is there a limit to this no more than we can handle?

Jeff said...

Thanks for writing. I posted a link for you to check out on your Facebook page. I hope you enjoy the series as I did.
I personally feel that change starts with us-we have to make the choice to stay where we are or move on. And sometimes in the midst of some horrible situations-there are no easy lessons to be seen or learned, however, that's not to say that it didn't impact someone in a profound way.
The trouble with sickness, dying, and death is that we have a tough time accepting our own mortality-that we are in deed fragile and that our time may come when we least expect it (via-sickness or freak accident).
We can go back to the days of Moses-when he was trying to wrap his head around this whole great 'I Am' phrase God told him to tell his people. I mean we've been struggling with that since day one! Adam and Eve knew God in an intimate way we wish we had now and they still gave into the idea God didn't have our best interests at heart.
Today-we struggle with that idea of 'How does one wrap their head around a God they cannot see, hear, feel, or touch'? What we seek most is confirmation of Him, but if we were to get what we wanted-we would cease to be in awe and wonder of Him.
Basically, it's about protecting ourselves from pain-both emotional and physical, but we can't. We want a filter-a way to control it all and when our world comes crashing down around us...we lose sight of Him and focus on our loss. While it is a loss and there's never a way to be fully prepared to say good-bye or deal with loss...we sometimes forget the pain and suffering the person who we missed the most in life is now free from.
Anyway, forgive my rambling...but I'm glad you're wrestling with it all too. It wasn't any easier in my 'Death and Dying' class back in College-it seemed as if we took away the whole awesomeness of God and chalked it up to another 'hallmark' card phrase: 'they're in a better place'. While it's true, sometimes it isn't enough and it doesn't help manage the loss and emotions that flood our minds.
Let me know your thoughts on the rest of the series.