Daily Devotion - Tuesday, January 26, 2016
I woke up with a headache today, one of those headaches that seems to originate from the back of my head, radiating toward the front in aggravating waves. I'm still fighting the lingering effects of the wicked cold that I got a couple of weeks ago--the same kind of cold that apparently hundreds of thousands, even millions of other people are fighting, too.
I never really felt like I was in any real danger when I got sick a couple of weeks ago. It was just annoying. I ate chicken soup, watched a lot of television, snorted nasal spray and waited it out. But there was a very slight chance that whatever I got could have developed into something more serious.
I've heard well-meaning Christians tell their friends or loved ones who are going through tough times, "Well, God won't give you more than you can handle." The truth of the matter is that's not at all biblically-based. God frequently gives us or allows us to take on more than we can handle. The actual verse people are trying to quote when they say those kinds of things reads like this:
“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.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
To begin, the word that the Apostle Paul uses here is the word "temptation," which also is translated as "trial" or "test." And further, Paul was speaking of the temptations that many Christians faced in the first century--temptations of idolatry, sexual promiscuity, selfish living and the like. Honestly, those same temptations still plague Christians today.
I didn't really think about it, but when I got sick a couple of weeks ago, the chance was there that I could have developed a severe sinus infection that could have led to nasty things, or contracted bronchitis, or worse yet, pneumonia. But because my immune system was fairly strong and I got some rest, fluids and a few bottles of zinc-laden immune-boosters, I lessened those chances.
Paul indicates that following Jesus isn't going to keep you from being tempted to act against the God-nature within you. But following Jesus, and maintaining a strong, intimate relationship with God by following the Way of Jesus will "provide a way out so that you can endure it." In other words, the way to beat back the temptations you face is by taking care of your spiritual health before temptation lands on you, and then doing what is necessary to fend it off when it does.
Beloved, may you strengthen your spiritual immune system constantly through daily connection with the Spirit of God in Christ. May you find the strength that God has given you to withstand the temptations that come your way--temptations to act in ways that deny the image of God within you. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
Counting it all Joy,