Standing on the Promises
When I was a kid there was a small plastic bread loaf that sat in the middle of our kitchen table and in it was a stack of little cards upon which were printed Scriptures regarding the promises of God. The idea was to draw out one of those cards each day and think about the many precious promises of our Lord. (Someone recently asked me about sources of promises, and as I researched it I found they still make these and other kinds of promise boxes.)
This hymn proclaims that we are to stand on the promises, and, indeed, if we want to stand strong in our faith, we need to be filled with and hold onto the promises of God. But let me ask you to stop right now and make list of all of God’s promises that you can think of off the top of your head. Go ahead, I’ll wait…How many did you come up with? What were the first ones that came to mind? Did they have a theme?
The first one that came to my mind was, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” How powerful and comforting is that? Jesus promised that He was going to prepare a place for us and that He would return to take us there. He promised that no one could snatch us out of His hand, and that nothing on earth or in heaven could separate us from His love. He promised to give us His Holy Spirit who would comfort and instruct us, would bear witness to us of our union with Him, and would empower us to do His kingdom work. He promised that the One who had begun a good work in us would be faithful to complete it.
The list of His promises could fill pages, but how many do we really know? How many do we have so foundationally in our minds that we can actually stand on them and not be shaken? When we are in possession of these promises we will have joy and peace; we will shout and sing praises. When we are assured in our spirits that the words of God never fail, that these promises hold the power of the living word of God we know we can prevail over everything the world, flesh and devil throw at us. It will make us bold and stouthearted. When we possess them they become fuel for our prayers, as well.
Being grounded in His promises we can be assured that we will not fall, because He will not let us drop. We will be certain of His persevering love toward us, knowing that He has promised to love us with an everlasting love. We will be attentive to the call of the Holy Spirit because we know He has promised that His sheep hear and know His voice. We can have peace no matter what assails us because we know He has promised perfect peace, peace that passes understanding, peace with God and the peace of God, and peace that is the very fruit of the Spirit.
As you read through Scripture become more aware of God’s promises. Look for a book, a promise box, or even Google search “promises of God,” so you can load your arsenal with God’s truth, and make a firm foundation upon which to stand. I will add a couple notes of caution: Be certain you do not snatch promises out of context—do read them in the context of the passage. And note any qualifiers, as well. For instance, God promises to keep us in perfect peace, but there is a qualifier: “he whose mind is fixed on Him.” He promises that “all things work together for good,” but the qualifier is, “to those who are called according to His purpose.” Also, be careful not to fall into the name-it-claim-it trap. While God shows favor to those who know His promises and reminds Him of them, it must be done with humility and the trust of a child for his loving Father, because God promises to be far away from the proud.
It’s good to remember that God’s promises us some tough things like the above sentence, as well as the one’s we’d rather hear. He promises judgment on the wicked, discipline for His children, and that this world will be full of trouble. But along with those He promises mercy on any of the wicked who turn to Him, that His discipline displays His love, and that He has overcome this troubled world. His promises can be a great source of conviction and repentance, as well as hope and strength.
We need to learn His promises, drive them so deep into our minds and hearts that they become a foundation we stand upon, a source for our praise, our peace, our power, and our proclamation. We need to open each promise as the precious gift it is from our Father’s loving heart to ours, and stand firmly on them.