You may have grown up calling it “Liar,” or “Bible Study,” “I Don’t Think So,” or even “Bluff,” but my favorite name for the infamous bluffing card game is, “Malarkey!”
Remember how to play? When you think you caught someone stretching the truth during their turn, you would yell out, “Malarkey!” or whatever word you used to describe the game. This may seem like a stretch, but there’s a couple of things going on in Chapter 10 that people have misconstrued, to which we need to respond gracefully, “Malarkey.”
Misconception #1: “God will never give us more than we can bear.”
People are surprised to find that at no time in the movie Casablanca does Rick ever say, “Play it again, Sam.” People are also surprised to know that in all the Star Trek episodes and movies, the line, “Beam me up Scotty,” is never said. The closest to this line is said by Captain Kirk in Stark Trek IV: The Journey Home, which is, “Scotty, beam me up.” I digress.
I know I’ve said it before myself but the phrase, God will never give us more than we can bear is Malarkey! As a pastor, let me coach you when you’re working with people who have experienced something devastating in their life, please don’t say, “God will never give you more than you can bear.” First of all, it’s not found anywhere in scripture. In fact, I can point to you scripture after scripture that would support the very opposite of that statement. Even Paul recognizes his own limitations in 2 Corinthians 1:8 (NLT) 8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die.
I don’t know about you, but that sure sounds like Paul reached the end of himself. Now, some will argue that because he did survive then God didn’t push Paul to his end. Again… Malarkey. Just look at Paul’s next statement. 9…BUT as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. Not in every situation, but in some situations God is calling us to stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on Him. [Another Coaching Tip] It doesn’t help for you to determine for someone else what God is doing through their situation, it’s not fare, and can be really damaging. That’s between them and God to work out, instead, simply admit, “you don’t know,” but that you’ll seek God together.
The reason I mention all this is because its 1 Corinthians 10:13 that people misquote:13 And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. Let’s talk about this for a minute.
Here’s the whole verse in context: 1 Corinthians 10:12-14 (NLT)
There’s a couple of things Paul’s saying here, for time sake, here are the highlights:
- Temptation happens to everyone, regardless of spiritual status
- God will not allow you to be tempted too far
- Others have resisted and so can you
- ANY temptation can be resisted with the Lords help
- God ALWAYS and FAITHFULLY give you a way out.
- Recognize the temptation… then RUN!
The Corinthians temptation was palpable. As you’ve heard me mention before the Corinthians were tempted on every side in every way possible. Paul mentions this teaching on temptation so the Corinthian Christian would learn to flee from the worship of idols.
I wish I had more time, but it’s important to remember that God is NEVER the one who temps us, as we read in James 1:13.
Misconception #2: “Paul said, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”
We tend to have heard that Paul gave permission for the Christians to experience anything and everything they wanted, but then warns them that not everything is beneficial. Malarkey! Paul never said “Everything is permissible,” instead it was the people in Corinth that were making this claim. As we already discovered in Chapter 6, Paul says, “YOU SAY… I can do anything (NLT). He’s says it again here in Chapter 10 to make the point that your spiritual freedom can cost others around you.
Clearing up these misconceptions are important to fully understand the power and context of the scripture. In the end, Paul’s ultimate point is to put others before himself. Verse 33 is a great place to wrap up this morning: 33 I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.