Has God ever given you a promise? Something you heard gently
whispered in your heart that brought with it anticipation and joy every time you remember… God promised me. Or maybe the word of the Lord fell heavy, reducing you to tears and flooding you with questions and doubt. With the announcement of God’s promise life suddenly is tilted; the precarious incline has you searching for something firm to grasp and right yourself again. Perhaps the universal promises of God proclaimed in His word feel hallow; you wonder at your own lack of excitement and anticipation when you hear them.
I was recently reading the gospel of Luke… the New Testament writer states his purpose for writing the book clearly and concisely in his opening greeting ~
“…so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:4
After stating his purpose Luke launches directly into the story of Zechariah. When an angel tells Zechariah he is going to conceive a child Zechariah responds with the question we all ask at times ~
“How can I be sure of this?” Luke 1:18
God had sent an angel to personally deliver His message of hope and promise to an old man who had prayed to God and served God faithfully since he was young. The promise of a son. Still, Zachariah struggled with the promise… was it really a promise that God would keep?
Perhaps Zachariah’s uncertainty was due to his age… life experience tends to bring skepticism and doubt when disappointments, failures and outright tragedy mount over time. Personally I know this is true. The cliche, “there’s no such thing as a sure thing” lurks around the corner of my thinking… eroding my certainty in my God.
There are promises of God I hold close to my heart, promises that involve those I love and cherish in this world; promises about my own identity and purpose in God’s kingdom. Some are the universal promises God declares to all His children born again through Jesus… others are specific, intimate and potentially life altering for Steve and me. Like Zachariah, I want to fall to my knees and question – how can I be sure of this?
Do you share in this struggle? No matter how God has proclaimed His promises in your life… gently or with boldness, personally or corporately… there is only one thing you crave – Certainty!
S… start with obedience.
Luke tells us that Zachariah and his wife were “upright in the sight of God” even before the promise of a son was given to them. Their attitude of seeking and obeying God was established in loving service that came from their hearts. No promise is fulfilled outside of our relationship with Jesus and His church. A heart surrendered to Him will worship Him passionately, seek him constantly, share Him boldly, and serve others freely.
If you are waiting on a promise of God as I am… don’t sit still. Take the steps necessary to see something happen… even when you are uncertain. Reconcile with that friend or family member you had a falling out with; give generously to the needs you see around you… even out of your own need; witness the salvation of Jesus to your unsaved loved ones by your loving, kind attitudes towards them. Certainty starts with our obedience.
U… uncover the fear.
Zechariah stated it best… “I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Zechariah knew God well enough to recognize the angel as His messenger… but he chose to look at the circumstances instead. Why did the promise arouse so much fear? Even the promise held aspects that were uncomfortable… he was an old man, too old to finally have a child. Why was God giving him so much more than he expected? There would be challenges and effort required? But most of all… what would it be like if the promise was not fulfilled? He didn’t want his hopes raised only to be smashed again.
Fear must be uncovered and brought to light whenever it causes us to doubt God. The fulfillment of a promise often requires us to change something in our lives… to mature in our attitudes, to exercise patience and perseverance, and possibly to suffer discomfort and embarrassment while we stand on God’s truth. Certainty requires us to surrender our unpleasant feelings no matter what problems God’s promise stirs up.
R… replace the lies.
Certainty repeatedly and consistently replaces the lies of the enemy with the truth of God! Elizabeth said it best, “The Lord has done this for me.” When we consider God’s promises… consider the one who makes the promise. In Him there is no wavering, no backing down, no giving up.
“Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. 2 Kings 8:56
Not one word has failed… we are assured of his love and acceptance; our eternal salvation is firm and secure. Certainty grows as we stand on God’s truth.
E… express your faith.
The fulfillment of a promise brings great joy! Look back in your life and recount God’s many blessings… the health of your loved ones, the job he has provided, the home that shelters you and your family. Focus on His promises kept. Phrase every request you make of God with certainty… thanking Him for His faithfulness. Profess the truth God states in His Word… even when you don’t feel the emotions of that truth.
As I look back I see God’s promises unfolding in my life. His timing for things has not always agreed with my level of patience. His way of providing the promise has not always been as I wished it would be. At times, his promise has demanded much of me, changing me, maturing me, strengthening my certainty in Jesus.
Has God ever given you a promise? Be sure!
Scripture: Luke 1: 1:25; II Corinthians 1:20; 1 Kings 8:56; Rom 8:38; John 6:37; II Corinthians 5:1; Heb 6:19
Father God I thank you that all your promises are Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus! As I wait on your promise I thank you for faithfully bringing that promise to completion in my life… a certainty that your love and goodness carries me every step of the way. I anticipate with joy… proclaim with assurance… celebrate with thanksgiving… all your promises for my life. In Jesus name, Amen