By Whitney Hopler, Crosswalk.com
The Bible includes thousands of promises, and each one of them is a powerful statement about what we can confidently expect to happen when we trust God. Yet we can forget those promises unless we remind ourselves of them regularly. Our society seems to have forgotten some important Bible promises, and that causes us unnecessary harm. We can always rely on God’s promises, so we need to live like we truly believe them. The more we embrace scripture promises, the more we can experience their fulfillment in our lives. 2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” Here are five powerful promises in scripture we seem to have forgotten – and how to renew our trust in those promises from God.
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1. We don’t need to be anxious about anything if we pray about everything.
Philippians 4:6-7 promises us peace when we pray about our worries: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” While we may appreciate this incredible promise when we read it, how often do we actually do what this verse advises? Many of us waste far too much valuable time and energy by worrying. At first, it may seem challenging to overcome anxiety and learn how to pray about everything. But doing so is not only possible, it’s liberating as well. By turning our worries into prayers, we can experience the peace of mind that comes from entrusting our worries to God. That peace surpasses understanding, and it will guard our hearts and minds, enabling us to navigate life’s challenges with grounded and serene spirits. We can trust that God is in control and will work situations out according to what’s truly best. It can help to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness, recalling past instances when God has answered our prayers with love and wisdom.
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2. We don’t have to let ourselves be stressed and exhausted because Jesus promises to give us rest.
Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” How often do we let stress take over our lives, when we can find relief by asking Jesus for help? We can embrace this promise by learning from Jesus’ example of gentleness and humility, and releasing our burdens into his loving care. Let’s reflect on the sources of stress and exhaustion in our lives, bring them to Jesus in prayer, and ask him to help us with each of those specific situations. Also, let’s yoke ourselves to Jesus by partnering with him day by day. A yoke was used to connect two animals for shared work. Jesus’ invitation to take his yoke upon us means that we can depend on him to be close to us and share our load as we walk through each day. We can trust that Jesus can handle what we can’t handle, and allow him to carry the weight of our burdens. Trying to control every aspect of life can lead us to exhaustion. So, let’s embrace the truth that God is in control. Let’s release our grip on situations beyond our control and trust in God’s sovereignty. When we do so, we will experience rest for our souls – experiencing the peace that comes only from God. We can follow Jesus’ example of being gentle and humble in heart. Approaching our challenges with a gentleness of spirit (toward both ourselves and others) will help. So will humbling ourselves before God, acknowledging our need for his strength. Finally, we can intentionally create moments of rest in this fast-paced world by scheduling time for solitude, prayer, and meditation, as well as by practicing Sabbath rest, dedicating a day to relaxation, discovering God’s wonder, and worship.
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3. We’re not condemned. Instead, we’re set free.
Romans 8:1-2 assures us: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Living with confidence in God’s grace and mercy, despite our mistakes, is a fundamental aspect of our faith. Yet, too often, we condemn ourselves by living as if God doesn’t really love and forgive us. Sometimes we neglect to love ourselves the way God does. Sometimes we also let ourselves feel shame for our sins rather than confessing them, repenting of them, and embracing God’s forgiveness. Often, self-condemnation arises from a narrow perspective that focuses solely on our failures. We can broaden our view to include God’s perspective. God’s desire is not to condemn us but to restore and uplift us. We all make mistakes in this fallen world, but God’s grace covers our imperfections. Instead of striving for flawlessness, we should strive for growth in our relationships with God. So, when we make mistakes, we can acknowledge them before God, turn away from those mistakes and toward God, and trust in God’s forgiveness. Just as God extends compassion to us, we can learn to show compassion to ourselves by treating ourselves with the same kindness that God offers us. Each of us is a work in progress, and God’s grace covers our moments of weakness. Instead of dwelling on our mistakes, we can direct our energy into growing spiritually – in ways like prayer and meditation, Bible study, worship, and acts of service. When we focus on growing closer to God, we will naturally find ourselves moving away from self-condemnation and experience God’s love. So, let’s remind ourselves daily of who we are in God’s eyes – loved, cherished, and forgiven. When we base our identities on our relationships with God, the grip of self-condemnation will loosen in our lives.
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4. We can overcome temptation because Jesus understands what it’s like to be tempted to sin, and he will help us.
Hebrews 2:18 reveals about Jesus: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” When we’re tempted, we often move away from Jesus, for fear of being judged. But Jesus doesn’t judge us for being tempted. Instead, he offers grace and help in our moments of weakness. Instead of hiding from Jesus when we’re tempted, we can approach him with honesty and openness. We should move closer to Jesus – not farther away – when we’re experiencing temptation, because he understands what we’re going through and can help us overcome temptation. During his earthly life, Jesus experienced temptation in ways that all humans are tempted, and he successfully overcame each temptation. Although Jesus was sinless, he experienced the full range of human temptation during his time on Earth. He faced the allure of sin but remained steadfast. This shared experience connects us to him on a deep level. When we’re tempted, let’s remember that Jesus knows firsthand what it’s like to face those inner battles. Jesus’ empathy for our struggles means He doesn’t stand aloof from our temptations. Instead, he approaches us with compassion, knowing the internal conflict we’re going through. We can trust that Jesus genuinely understands our struggles and desires to help us navigate them. Jesus’ victory over temptation serves as a model for us. His reliance on God’s Word and unwavering commitment to God’s will showcase the strategies we can use to resist temptation. Knowing that Jesus understands our temptation makes him a trustworthy advocate for us. He doesn’t merely sympathize from a distance; he offers practical help and guidance. When faced with temptation, we can pray with confidence, knowing that God will answer our prayers for the strength to overcome temptation.
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5. We are unified in our diversity, from God’s perspective.
Galatians 3:26-29 explains: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” God sees all of humanity as one big family that should be connected to him and each other through the bond of faith. Yet, far too often, we allow early divisions to come between us. If we were to really share God’s perspective on humanity, we would choose to live in much more harmony than we typically do. We would resolve conflicts and put love into action if we truly lived as the diverse, unified family of God. The promise that this Bible passage is referring to is the one that God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3: “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” This promise is not based on anything except faith in Jesus. All believers in Christ are children of Abraham and heirs of God’s promise, regardless of their backgrounds. In essence, Galatians 3:26-29 reminds us that, from God’s perspective, our spiritual unity transcends the societal divisions that often separate us. Embracing this truth compels us to live up to that unity, cultivating an inclusive and loving community where all are valued, celebrated, and united by our relationships with God through Jesus. We can work to break down barriers that perpetuate divisions by listening to, and learning from, each other. We can also pray for each other and serve together, mirroring God’s love in our attitudes and actions.
God has made many powerful promises to us in the Bible. However, we seem to have forgotten some of those key promises. Reading, believing, and relying on God’s promises in the Bible can transform our lives for the better in significant ways. So, let’s remind ourselves about God’s promises and live like they’re really true. Then we’ll grow in our faith, overcome challenges, and experience peace and joy day by day!
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