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Deconstructing Christian Cliche – Part III

carrying a heavy load

Last time  we saw that God’s love of mankind found in the provision of the gospel of Christ stands in contrast to His hatred of sinners and sin alike. (Psalms 5, 11; Proverbs 6) The Lord rescues sinners from eternal condemnation, not miscellaneous sins.  God, as the righteous judge of all things, sentences the workers of iniquity to the fiery pit as their just reward. (Romans 2:1-6)  Over time, most evangelicals have lost any real understanding of exactly what they are supposed to be saved from. With the advent of self-help psychology and rampant feel-good theology finding its way into once biblically-based teaching, there has been an overemphasis of good news. The problem, however, is that without the wrath of God as the backdrop of Calvary, Christ becomes merely a murdered man instead of the Savior having suffered for all the sins of His people.  This truth relates to our final cliché in this series – “The Lord will not give you more than you can handle.”

There is no doubt that from a purely experiential vantage point this is a false claim. How many times have you been completely overwhelmed by life? How often have you had to seek counsel and aid and advice and resources from others just to get by?  Is it not true that while we may experience a certain degree of independence, we are still hopelessly interdependent; relying upon others in times of great need? Surely, Katrina taught us that.

So where did this saying come from? I’m fairly confident that its origin is another Scriptural misquote. This time, it is a butchering of 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 –“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. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”

The apostle Paul’s admonishment to flee idolatry is predicated on the promise that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle; instead, He will always provide us with a way of escape so as not to fall into sin. This passage says nothing about God not allowing us to endure a trial or suffering beyond what we can endure for if this were the case who would ever have suffered martyrdom? Also, we are well-covered in one-another verses in the New Testament as God has prepared that our new family in Christ would comfort us and help provide for our needs.(Romans 12:10-16)  If we were supposed to be somehow protected from being overburdened then why would we need each other at all?

On the contrary, the power of Christ is seen clearly in our weakness.  Paul instructs us that it is good to be content with insults, distresses, persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for in our frailty God is mighty. (2 Corinthians 12:5:10)

May we all learn to live lowly and rejoice in our infirmities for it is in our darkest hour that God’s grace in Christ is the most lovely jewel in our lives.