I have often had the opportunity to think about 1 Corinthians 10:13, “…no temptation has overtaken you except that which is common to man…”
This is a classic counseling verse.
It obviously provides a whole lot of different reasons for encouragement, one of them being the fact that the struggles we face are not nearly as unique as we tend to think they are. When we are in the middle of a difficult situation, it’s not unusual for us to begin feeling like we are the only ones who have ever faced this particular temptation and thinking like that makes it a whole lot easier to give up. I mean, other people might be able to go on in the middle of their struggle, but not me, my problem is so much more difficult.
I guess though, while I have often applied this to my own life and thought about this verse in terms of the encouragement it provides individuals I haven’t thought as much until recently about the encouragement it even provides churches.
I am out in California and I have had the opportunity to visit with a number of different pastors and visit with a number of different churches and you know, I have just been encouraged by the fact that the struggles you face in church life as a church, really aren’t all that different from place to place.
Finances, grumpy people, sin, criticisms, people coming, people leaving, lack of commitment, ups and downs, this is part of church life in this world.
We shouldn’t be that surprised by it.
I think something that can happen when you are in a church, one church, you get so involved in the ministry there, the struggles and problems are so real and intense to you, that you can begin to feel like your church is going through things that are just so unique and you know what at that point, I’ve seen people, Christian people with some commitment to the church, give up on good, sound, biblical, seeking to glorify God churches.
Which is not only wrong but also kind of crazy because what they are going to find when they go to another church is that things really aren’t all that different.
*(On the other hand, maybe a more positive note, I have loved being reminded as I have gone from church to church, town to town, that there are men all over the world who are faithfully preaching the Word and loving their congregations and meeting people with an intense desire to honor Christ!)