Key verse from today's reading: 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it."
As Paul writes this letter to the
|Facial composite of Paul by experts|
of the LKA NRW, Germany.
Logic tells us that people do face more than they can handle. Tragedy occurs when people are killed by violence. Some commit suicide. Others succumb to mental illness if left without treatment.
Paul is trying to describe God's faithfulness. He says that God provides us with a way out - a way to endure. Within the larger Moses story that Paul references, Moses blows it and is not allowed to enter the promised land. Does this mean he was tempted beyond his own abilities or do we have to look at a more complex understanding of what Paul means by this?
Maybe it means that God's grace is the way out.
Within United Methodism's vows, we have this important nod to free will in the second vow of our profession of faith:
Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?
We do have the freedom (free will) to either resist, condone or engage in these awful things. We also have the power to resist them. We just don't often avail ourselves to use it. When we face a temptation, we can pray, read scripture, talk to an influential confidant (hopefully that will provide a sound moral compass rather than telling us what we want to hear) - even attend worship. We believe that God will provide for us a way out.
Our trouble is that we often make snap judgments. And if we haven't been regularly engaging in these spiritual disciplines, our judgment is not as powerful as it should or could be.
So maybe the temptation that so many of us face is to skip our daily Bible reading
or to forget to pray.
or to sleep in on Sunday mornings.
Breath prayer: Eternal Strength, convict me to engage you daily.