The Way of Escape (1 Corinthians 10:13)

“No 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; all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible).

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Has anybody ever told you, “God will not give you more than you can handle” or something similar? Maybe you lost your job, suffered a permanently debilitating injury, and your marriage broke up within a few months. Maybe you lost your home. Perhaps you have struggled with addiction for years, and have a few months of sobriety, but now the craving to go back to your old drug or alcohol is overwhelming. If you share your burdens with a group of Christians, one of them is bound to tell you, “Don’t worry; God will not give you more than you can handle!”

This cliché paraphrases 1 Corinthians 10:13. It is half true. The problem with half-truths is that they can have the power of a complete lie.

Scripture does not exactly say “God will not give you more than you can handle.” Instead, it says “God…will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.” Paul adds that “with the temptation {God} will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” Our own ability will not get us through the overwhelming trials. Our source of strength is in God’s power and faithfulness.

We will face trials that will go beyond our ability. Circumstances will overwhelm us, and we might see no way out. We may see no hope that any solution will allow us to enjoy a normal life again. We may face temptations that seem unbearable and uncontrollable. Life seems out of control. God seems distant, perhaps even uncaring. Then, somebody says, “God will not give you more than you can handle. You’ve got this!”

Great: Now, in addition to the stress and anxiety that your problems produced, you feel guilty because you think, “I should be able to handle this. I must not be a good Christian. Maybe the fact that I’m flat broke and in this mess shows that I’m going to hell!”

God sometimes allows us to be tempted beyond our own ability, so that we can learn to trust in God’s ability.

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

When trials come, look for a way of escape. God will provide it. It might not be easy, but it will be effective.

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Are you tempted to continue a life-controlling addiction or surrender to another form of temptation?

“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell” (Matthew 5:29-30).

Jesus was speaking in hyperbole here, using exaggeration to make a point. He is not telling us to dismember ourselves. It is not our eyes or hands that lead us into sin but our inner evil desires (see James 1:14). Jesus was saying that, when facing temptation, we need to take drastic action.

Part of the success of Twelve Step programs is the fact that they guide recovering addicts to build a new social network. Instead of going to the bar or hanging out with their active drug-using friends, they are urged to attend 90 meetings in 90 days, thereby surrounding themselves with people in recovery. One benefit is that they build a new circle of friends. Before that, they hung out with people who would encourage them to drink or take drugs. The program surrounds them with people who encourage them to seek a better way of living. They become “God’s way of escape” by providing a new social network that provides different influences in the person’s life.

God’s way of escape for you may involve connecting with a new group of people, particularly within a church and its fellowship activities.

He may also provide a way of escape through godly counsel—perhaps within that fellowship, the church’s teaching and preaching, or other avenues—that will direct you to an answer to your problem that you have not seen before.

When God provides a way of escape, take it, even if it leads you out of your comfort zone. God may allow the trial so that you may grow in faith and spiritual maturity. You will see Him do things He has never done before in your life. He may show you that you have gifts and resources you did not recognize previously, or He might draw you into relationships that will further strengthen your relationship with Him.

Yes, you will face things that you cannot handle on your own. Those trials will show you that you can go through them with God’s strength, wisdom, power, and guidance.

Lord, sometimes we feel like our world is falling apart and that there is nothing we can do to make things right. We might even feel like you have abandoned us and will never return. Lord, when we feel abandoned and hopeless, please draw us to you anew. Show us the way of escape. Guide us in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Renew and restore us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Have you ever felt like God has given you more than you could bear? Where did you find the way of escape? Share your thoughts and comments in the box below this article.

Copyright © 2022 Michael E. Lynch. All rights reserved.

2 responses to “The Way of Escape (1 Corinthians 10:13)”

  1. I have had relationship challenges with my adult children for many years. My attempts to fix things have been like one step forward, two steps backward. I’ve come to a place of surrender and realizing this is beyond me. I’ve shed many tears, prayed prayers and am realizing that God is my only refuge and strength. I don’t “see” Him, “feel” Him, but trust in His word that says He will never leave me nor forsake me. It’s a one day at a time walk but like the disciples said, where else can we go?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for sharing so honestly, Roberta. Family issues are definitely one area where our faith can be stretched. While reading your comment, I thought of how overwhelming it was when my first marriage broke up and I didn’t have any contact with my son for over 7 months. That was more than I could handle in my own strength, but it was also a time when my relationship with the Lord really began to grow.
      God bless and take care!


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