Many of us have heard the phrase, “God will never put more on us than we can handle.” A friend of mine asked me about this phrase this morning. His concerns were, “Can someone please give me a solid biblical understanding of the statement?” My friend’s question was very appropriate. The answer I provided him is updated and provided below because I think it is time we start facing the fact that in our churches, we believe a lot of things have little to do with scripture.
The phrase “God will not put more on you than you can handle” is one of those instances, and it is not anywhere in the Bible. Instead, it is an inaccurate rephrasing of I Corinthians 10:13. There Paul writes, “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.” (NASB). Often people latch onto the part of I Corinthians 10:13, which says, “But with the temptation will provide the way of escape.” The means of escape don’t consist of a means-based from our strength.
You Can’t Handle It; God Can
Therefore, I believe the phrase “God will never put more on me than I can bear” is an unbiblical interpretation and application of I Corinthians 10:13. The phrase misrepresents the Lord of scripture by making Him a “get out of jail card.genie for our life.” Faith in Christ is NEVER about what we can do. I Corinthians 10:22, Paul also writes, “We are not stronger than He, are we?” It should always be about God’s power and what He can do first, not after our efforts have been depleted. Without Him, we can do nothing. If we were able to save ourselves even from temptation, Christ’s death on the cross was in vain.
Instead, in I Corinthians 10:13, “the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it,” is dependent on faith in Christ Jesus. It is resting in His power, the same power that brought victory over the grave. In fact, in chapter ten, Paul refers to how ancient Israel did not depend on God. Instead, they turned to idols, which God continually became frustrated with them over.
Being God-Centered, Not Us-Centered
We must then be careful that we do not repeat the same mistake. This mistake is that we should not make ourselves idols believing that we have the power to overcome things that were meant for us to depend on Christ to perform. So the next time you hear someone say, “God won’t put more on you than you can handle,” inform him or her that the Lord may put more on us then we can handle. This way, we will have to depend on the strength of Christ and not boast in ourselves.
In closing, as Christians, we may believe things we have learned in church, but that is not truly represented in the Bible, providing a host of problems. The greatest is that it turns the Gospel into something that is man-centered and not God-centered. The point of the Gospel hope is about everything the Lord does and only what we receive. Let’s know our Bibles and what God teaches so we can give others the hope of the Lord and not the continual fall of man.