Biblical quotes, an Installment in an Occasional Feature: 1 Corinthians 10.13

October 10, 2009 at 3:54 am | Posted in Book Reviews, Philosophical Problems, Spirituality and Religion | Leave a comment

I admit that I'm fascinated by images of crucifixion, not because I'm morbid or sadistic (no, really), but because I believe they represent the demanding nature of Christianity.

I admit that I'm fascinated by images of crucifixion, not because I'm morbid or sadistic (no, really), but because I believe they represent the demanding nature of Christianity.

This has always puzzled me a bit, and struck me as a bit fatuous:

God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you might be able to endure it.

I feel that I’ve been tested beyond my strength often and often. Surely some of my darker thoughts prove that I’ve gone beyond my strength. Is that really the case, though? As I was typing this out, I thought that just because God provides the way out doesn’t mean we have to take it. It’s the whole bit about free will and sin. If sin is turning away from God and towards one’s own will, then perhaps — just perhaps — my darkest days came when I was turning away from God and relying on my own will.

Now I want to make it absolutely clear that I gain nothing by wallowing in the fact that I’ve sinned. As you all know, Christian or not, Christianity holds that none of us can avoid sin, since we’re fallen creatures and live in a fallen world. So meditation on this quote need not remind me of my vile sinning nature. Rather, it should serve as motivation to discern God’s will and turn myself over to it.

This is incredibly difficult, as any Christian will tell you. I’m still very much where St. Augustine was when he was tormented by his ability to discern God’s will and his inability to follow it. Sin is multifarious, is delightful at times, and holds us with chains that we’ve forged link by link over a lifetime. Turning towards God’s will presents us with challenges in just about every aspect of our lives, from our finances to our resistance to tithing to our shyness and distaste when it comes to engaging with the poor. It can often seem overwhelming to imagine striving to live a truly Christian life.

So, yes, following God’s will. If I could just do so, perhaps I could find that elusive way out of at least some of my suffering.

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