"But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus being led by the Spirit..."
I have heard many times in church that we will not be tempted above that which we can bear. But this scripture seems to clearly say that we have to be very proactive about not being tempted 'above that which we can bear.' It counsels us to "watch and pray continually" for this blessing. That means the blessing is not automatic. We need to pray for our temptations to be bearable, endurable, and that we'll have the power to conquer them. And we need to always be on guard- "watch... continually." To me that implies that I need to be looking out for and staying clear of things I know might be hard for me to turn down. It implies that I have responsibility to keep the temptations in my life low. Or at least to not escalate them. This interpretation makes a lot more sense to me, and seems to mesh with principles of agency and consequences more than saying "we'll never be tempted above that which we can bear." I also find it empowering to the repentant person, because it gives clear action steps of how to gain the blessings of not being tempted above what we can handle. That is so much more empowering than just saying, "you won't be tempted more than you can handle, so just deal with it and make the right choice!"
Action steps to receive this wonderful blessing:
- Pray for my temptations to be bearable, endurable, and that I'll have the power to conquer them.
- Actively analyze my mental/emotional/spiritual armor and environment, and look out for things I know might be hard for me to turn down. Like Joseph of Egypt, FLEE from them.