1 Corinthians 10:6–13 ‘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.’(v13)

Following yesterday’s study, it’s important to state clearly that obedience does not equate to servitude. Whilst it is true that we are completely subject to God, He insists that we retain our free will. So we each retain control over the degree to which we choose to pursue God. God is no enforcer, and Adam and Eve were given free rein over the fruit they chose to eat (Gen. 2:16–17).

There will always be challenges because this is how we develop in every sphere of life, including spiritually. Yet, God brings us to those situations where we have the capacity to succeed, despite the challenges involved within each particular life experience. It’s why Scripture assures us that we are tested, but never beyond our capacity.

In everything our greatest safeguard is to remain connected with Jesus (John 15:4). The metaphor of the vine John uses in chapter 15 also acknowledges that pruning will take place. Anyone who is a gardener recognises that pruning, whilst harsh, ensures a greater harvest.

So God never demands we go beyond what we believe we can endure, yet God’s commitment to our growth will mean that we shall be stretched and need to reach beyond what we already know so we can discover more both about God and ourselves. God doesn’t expect us to go alone. It is our personal growth, but fruit trees are best grown in orchards.

Scripture to consider: 1 Sam. 12:19–25; Psa. 46:1–7; Luke 11:9–13; Heb. 4:14–16.

An action to take: Who are the people closest to you in the orchard, with whom you can be honest, share life with confidence and explore the stretching of your faith?

A prayer to make: ‘Lord, thank You that You never force my hand but invite me to stretch my faith and grow. Amen.’

Photo by dozemode on pixabay

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.