“…and God is faithful…”
One of my favorite verses that I memorized when I was in school was 1st Corinthians 10:13. It reads,
“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.”
I have recently found myself back at this verse, reading and rereading it. For the longest time I focused on my part… “YOUR temptation is not unique,” “it will not be more than YOU can bear,” “YOU can stand up under it or endure it.”
The verse I memorized was a different version and instead of endure it used the phrase “you can stand up under it.” I always imagined whatever the temptation was as an elephant and then there I was crashing around under its big feet, standing up, but definitely not conquering it… mostly living in fear of being squished. It wasn’t until recently that I noticed the phrase smack dab in the middle of the verse: “God is faithful.”
This changed my entire outlook on this verse. It took the elephant like weight off of me and put the temptation in perspective. No longer was it my job to overcome the temptation… God had already provided that, I just had to let God be faithful in providing the way out.
I have a good husband, y’all. For real, he’s a hard worker, he’s a provider and he’s got the best sense of humor around. He is also a character builder and keeps me accountable. For example, several times over the last year he has said to me, “Jillian, I think you really hurt so-and-so’s feelings. You may not have meant it the way you said it but I think you really offended them.” He didn’t come with an in-your-face- you-failed-suckaa!!! kind of comment, but he did call me out for being rude. Something that could be perceived as very offensive because of what I said or how I said it made absolutely no red flags go off in my mind. It was just me being blunt… I mean that’s part of me being me, right? Outspokenness is a character trait, right??? **que cricket chirps**
Through many conversations Jared has helped me work through and see how often I do speak callously without regard to other folk’s feelings. He helped me see HOW MANY wounds I was inflicting without realizing it. So, my prayers lately have been to recognize this temptation (since, being a snappy, sarcastic smart-aleck wasn’t even on my radar) and to have that two-second thought of “should I say this in this way?” before I speak. I definitely haven’t come very far, but again I am just realizing that that verse above has a lot less to do with me and a lot more to do with living through the Spirit (Romans 8).
I have had several interesting conversations with students recently outside of the classroom about Christ and church. (Which is awesome by the way!) One of the biggest conversation pieces usually includes the student or group of students in some cases, being disgusted with Christians who act one way at school and another way at home and another way at church. They claim this isn’t genuine… “How can you believe what you say you believe and not live it out in your everyday life?” is what I hear repeatedly.
I understood exactly where they were coming from—that’s whitewashed tomb syndrome (Matthew 23:27)! It wasn’t until about half-way through the conversation that I realized I am living the same way. I have the dearly held beliefs, I have had life change, but do my day-to-day ATTITUDES and ACTIONS show a change? Sadly, it seems that most of the time they do not.
Supposedly, Ghandi once said, “ I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Now whether he actually made this statement is up for debate, but the heart of the matter is still there. So often I and other Christians act no differently from the world. We (I) go about my day thinking that my life is to be lived in segments… this time for church time, this time for family, this time for work, this time for students, this time for me. When in reality, if what we truly believed rocked our hearts we would live like Christ all the time because he had changed us SO profoundly.
Which leaves me at a crossroad… or maybe more appropriately standing beneath the elephant in the room trying not to get squashed by temptations and expectations.
But God is faithful.
He is faithful when I am not. He is faithful when I fail. He is faithful when I miss the mark. He is faithful when I choose myself over Him. He is faithful and despite my being justified through him… he is faithful when I still feel like I have a “work in progress” sign hanging on my heart’s door because I chose the flesh rather than the spirit.