There is something I know in my head but forget in my heart.
Do you ever look at your believing friends–those people you see every Sunday and meet for coffee during the week–and get overwhelmed by their spiritual “giantness”?
At times, exchanging a deep spiritual dialogue or having someone shower you with love strengthens your walk with God. Other times though, it discourages you. At least if you’re like me.
Sometimes, when I see flawless spirituality in others, I feel insignificant. I feel dirty. And selfish. My mind replays my past sins one by one.
“I’ll do better. I’ll try harder to be like my friend!”
Those are the times I feel the most alone; it’s as if no one can identify with the monster inside my sinful shell. No one else faces my daily temptations. No one else has to struggle with their thought life. No one else makes selfish choices that destroy trust in a relationship.
Have you ever thought that? Well, here’s a little bit of truth for you (and me):
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.”1 Cor. 10:13a
You’ve probably heard that a thousand times. Maybe two thousand. But the truth hasn’t changed. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Whatever you’re struggling with has been struggled with before by someone else…maybe someone is even struggling with it right now. And not just one someone but enough someones to make it “common to man.”
Depending on how you look at that, it’s encouraging. But wait; lest knowing that others have the same struggles makes us gloss over our sinfulness. There’s more:
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.1 Cor. 10:13b
Having a faithful God means that we shouldn’t yield to temptation so that His grace may abound. God forbid! (Rom. 6:1) Without rejoicing in others’ failures, we can realize we’re not the only one in our boat, paddling furiously against temptation’s current. Others are in the boat with us. What would happen if we would paddle together without fear and without judgment?
Enough of this silently drowning in our own shame! We have an “very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). We are not alone. Not at all.