You’re Not Alone
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. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. (1 Cor. 10:13–14)
WE BEGIN OUR thirty-one-day journey with four assurances from God—assurances you need in order to fight against your anger.
1. You will face temptations and trials in this life. People and situations can make life hard and can tempt you toward anger. Don’t be surprised at this—God isn’t. He knows your struggles.
2. Your struggles are not unique. They are common. You are not alone. The path you now walk has on it the footprints of others. Others before you have been tempted to sinful anger. Scripture records scores of such people—some who succeeded and some who failed. Others around you, even brothers and sisters in your church, are tempted right now. More than thirty-five years of counseling have led me to this statistical conclusion: approximately one out of one people struggle with anger.
Moreover, in your struggle with temptation, you have examples not only in people before you and people around you but also in the God-man above you. Jesus was made like us (see Heb. 2:10–18) and was tempted like us (see Heb. 4:15–16) in every way. Your fully human Savior understands your struggles.
3. These temptations will not be too difficult for you to handle. Your faithful God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to resist. He will not abandon, leave, or forsake you. As Pastor Warren Wiersbe put it, “When God puts His own people into the furnace, He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat. He knows how long and how much.”*1 Of course, this assumes that you are handling life God’s way—the way that this book will show you.
4. God always provides a “way out” amid these trials. “Good,” you might say; “that’s exactly what I need. I need a way to get out of this bad marriage or hard job or rising debt or chronic pain or . . .” But notice that God does not promise an escape from the temptation. Rather, he promises to enable you to “endure” it.
So what kind of “way out” does God promise? The next verse in today’s passage tells us. God promises to help you avoid idolatry—the sinful ways in which you are tempted to respond to the trial (including, for instance, anger). Apart from the Lord’s help, these temptations and sinful responses can take you down—all the way down to the point of turning away from the Lord. But as you focus on the Lord and handle your pressures his way, you can learn to live out his method of endurance.
*1 Jonathan Leeman, Reverberation: How God’s Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People (Chicago: Moody, 2011), 19.