God holds back nothing in His Great and Precious Promises, giving to us in accordance with the riches of His grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. By clinging to these promises, all of which are fulfilled and merited for us in Christ, He imparts the quality of His character to us making us godly and beautiful (cf. 2 Peter 1:3-4; Eph. 1:7; 2 Cor. 1:19). In fact, one way to explain the Christian Life is as a Life that daily clings to the Promises of God. As I walk through life, I’m faced with difficulties and challenges which always involve some combination of circumstances and relationships. These contexts evoke various emotions in me that the Lord uses as a catalyst to bring me to the place of humble prayer (one more reason to pay attention to your emotions). And it is in this place of prayer that the Lord desires for us to fix our minds and our trust on His Promises.
But what do we mean when we speak of God’s Promises?
God’s Promises are:
-His declarations that He will do something for us or give something to us.
-His express assurance on which our expectations can be based. He tells us what to expect from Him.
-His guarantees of security against loss. What we have in Him, we will not lose.
-His pledge of fulfillment of an obligation. He intends to keep all of His Promises.
-His bond that he has made himself responsible for us. The all-powerful Creator God is in charge of our well-being.
As children of God, we can trust the Promise Maker because this Promise Maker is the ultimate Promise Keeper. While we live in a world where we see promises broken all of the time. Our parents weren’t perfect at keeping their promises, about half or more of marriage promises aren’t kept and we’ve even become cynical about the promises of politicians. A Promise is only as good as the Promise Maker’s track record, the trustworthiness of His character and His true ability to impact the outcome. When we speak about the Majestic King of Kings, our Sovereign Creator and Redeemer, His track record is perfect (He has never forsaken His children), His character is absolutely trustworthy, and His Omnipotence guarantees the end result. This means that we can live in full reliance on Him and live out the words of the old hymn,
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
As I’ve thought about God’s promises this week, I’ve realized that I spend much of my thought life, clinging to and standing on specific promises that He has given especially when the “howling storms of doubt and fear assail.” In a quick, random brainstorming session, I listed these promises which are in my heart and yours:
- Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. (1 Thess. 5:24)
- There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1)
- For God demonstrates His own love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8)
- For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that if anyone believes in him he shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
- He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus (Php 1:6)
- If anyone is in Christ He is a new creation, behold old things have passed away new things have come (2 Cor. 5:17)
- Do not be anxious in anything but in everything by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace that passes understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Php. 4:6-7).
- If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (John 1:8-9)
- He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Ps. 103)
- For He Himself Has Said, I will never leave you nor will I ever forsake you. so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me.'” (Hebrews 13:5)
- Come to me, all who weary and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28)
- Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. no one comes to the Father but through me. (John 14:6)
- And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
- Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’ (John 6:35)
- Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov. 22:6)
- I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. (Ps. 37:25)
- Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Prov. 3:5)
- Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:8-10)
- See ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)
- He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalms 147:3)
- So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Is. 41:10)
- The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. (Is. 61)
- He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Is. 40:29-31)
- No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[m] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
- When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Is. 43)
- We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
- For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:17)
Perseverance is the key virtue in the Christian Life because without it, one has no guarantee of a future inheritance with God in heaven. The Scriptures give us guarantees like, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Php 1:6) and at the same time they give us strong exhortations like, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Php. 2:12-13). In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus teaches us that only one of the categories of hearers bears fruit and perseveres. All the others are eventually swallowed up and destroyed by malignant influences which militate against Christian perseverance. There are also many warnings in the New Testament about falling away (Cf. Hebrews 6:1-12, etc.). Does a person have a carte blanche (blank check) once he professes faith in Christ? Can he do anything he wants while maintaining blessed assurance in a secure salvation? In his book, The Christian Life, Sinclair Ferguson puts this in perspective,
“Perseverance and faith, therefore, or perseverance and the Christian’s duty to battle on in the fight of faith are never separated and polarized in the Bible. It is never a case of ‘either/or’ always one of ‘both/and.’ In fact we persevere through faith and never apart from it. The picture is one of a dynamic, living trust in a God who actively holds on to us so that we may persevere. There is no blanket guarantee of perseverance. There is no mere doctrine of ‘the security’ of the believer, as though God’s keeping of us took place irrespective of the lives we live. Indeed there is not such thing in the New Testament as a believer whose perseverance is so guaranteed that he can afford to ignore the warning notes which are sounded so frequently.”
While we remain in the fight of faith to persevere the Christian can take great comfort and courage from his Good Shepherd who says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)
While our adversary the devil is a formidable foe who will use any allowable means necessary to opportunistically attack faith in the most vulnerable moments of life, take heart because Jesus prays for you! Jesus sought to prepare Simon Peter for the imminent moment of the Shepherd being snatched away, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Take courage because Jesus’ intercession is the guarantee that your faith, though shaken will not fail. When Jesus says, “I’ll pray for you” this is not the meaningless human resignation uttered when we don’t know what else to say or do for a struggling friend as if to say, “I pity you, good luck with all that!” Unlike my prayers, when Jesus prays, All of His Prayers are Answered, YES! So Christ guarantees victory for Peter, the Disciples and all who believe. The prayers of Jesus give us assurance that God’s grace will be victorious. Paul reminds us in Romans 8,
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. …nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Because you are among the elect, Jesus has been condemned for you and the Father has Justified you through the righteousness of His Son. This Son is risen and now sits at the right hand of the Father always praying for you as your great sympathetic high priest. Because He always has the Father’s ear and His prayers are always answered, YES, you will be a conqueror! Even more than that! Your faith will persevere to the end and you will always BE LOVED! And not only that but through the process of having your faith sifted coupled with Jesus prayers for your perseverance, when (not if) you turn back to Him you will become stronger so that you may help strengthen others.
I’ve blogged this week about emotions and attitudes and how they are warning signs to us that there is something buried deep within us of which we need to repent. I wrote about Anger and Anxiety on Tuesday and yesterday’s blog on Pride received some interesting comments particularly on Facebook. Today I want to blog about boredom.
Kids and teenagers often complain of boredom to their parents who indignantly resist any responsibility to provide non-stop entertainment for their offspring. But don’t adults suffer from boredom too? Boredom is a passive spiritual condition which consists of a sad, restless and ungrateful weariness in the midst of the goodness of God, His Work and His Creation. When I’m bored, deep down my heart is saying, “God, you’re nice but I need more of this other exciting thing too if you want me to engage with you and your world and be satisfied.”
In his book, “What is Sin? What is Virture? Robert McCracken wrote about slothfulness, which is clustered with boredom and indifference,
A slothful person believes in nothing, enjoys nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, loves nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing and only remains alive because there is nothing he would die for.
Bored people are joyless, loveless and hopeless. Boredom looks at any opportunity as not worth the effort, robs us of meaningful activity, and makes our rest unrestful.
Pray: Passionate Father, help me to see your love for me as bold and your pursuit of me as unrelenting. Help me to see that you have designed me in Christ Jesus to do good works which you have prepared for me so that I might bring glory to You. God of hope, fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of your Spirit I may abound in hope. Amen.