The Promises Of God
“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” — II Corinthians 1:20
The promises of God are Yes and Amen! However, in most cases, promises are not simple to obtain. There is often a preparation time wherein the individual who will receive the promise is prepared for the advent of that promise. In addition, there are spiritual forces that oppose the individual’s reception of that promise or word from the Lord. Both areas are traversable as long as the believer understands the process and is willing to be changed and helped by the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, there are four key areas that we must be sure not to stumble over. I am sure that there are many other obstacles that the believer might face during the growth process, but these four stand out as some of the most prominent obstacles to the believer’s pursuit of God and His promises.
The first obstacle is fear. We are often afraid of moving out of our comfort zone into something new. The fear of the unknown has stopped many believers from attaining to the new level of spiritual truth that God desires for them. Fear grips the heart and causes us to head in one of two wrong directions. First, fear may cause us to act prematurely or presumptuously. Due to circumstances, we feel that we just have to do something. Second, fear may cause us to stop moving all together. We stop moving toward the goal that God has given because we are unsure or uneasy. Fear is overcome by choosing to trust that God knows the needs that lie ahead and that He will meet each one as it arises. Faith does not guarantee the absence of fear. Faith overcomes the obstacle created by fear.
The second obstacle the believer must defeat is the obstacle of distraction. In Mark 4:14-20, Jesus explains the true meaning of the parable of the sower to His disciples. It is here that we learn of the great opposition that comes from both Satan and self. As soon as the word (the promise) is given, Satan attempts to steal it. If the word falls on a heart that will receive it, that word has the capability of growing and bringing forth fruit. If it passes the initial attack of persecution, the believer has to be careful not to be lulled into a destructive state of apathy. The entrance and focus of other things (usually physical desires of some nature) create this scenario. In Mark 4, we see that the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Pay attention to the promise or to the word that God has given. Do not be distracted from it. Meditate upon it. Hold it close to your heart. God will both confirm His word to you and will enlarge upon its purpose and definition. Do not lose sight of what God has revealed to you.
The third obstacle is discouragement. Very rarely will a promise of God come to pass immediately. Usually, there is a time frame that is involved from the promise to the possession of that promise. If we become discouraged along the way, we will release our faith in what God has said, and in what God desires to do. In Joshua 1:6-9, God tells Joshua to “Be strong and of a good courage,” or words to that affect, three separate times. Why is this? It is because Joshua would face many battles before God’s people possessed the land promised to them. Time would pass. Giants would have to be faced and defeated. Opposition would arise. Don’t let discouragement cause you to stumble. Don’t let discouragement stop you short of the goal that God has set before you.
The last obstacle that I will mention is the ever-present tendency in man to try to accomplish the right thing in the wrong way. God has a way in which everything He has designed and produced is to be accomplished. Man’s problem is that we truly hear from God and then try to bring about what God has proclaimed by our own method. This is the evil tendency of the flesh. It is trust in oneself and trust in ways that are the manufacturings of man’s own mind. If we want the Holy Spirit’s power to work in our situation, we must submit completely to the prescribed order that God has in regard to the goal that He has set before us. For example, sin must be defeated by faith in the finished work of Christ. It cannot be prayed out or fasted out. That is the wrong way to overcome sin and its power over an individual. God’s way to defeat sin is by faith in the cross of Christ! There is no other way. Cain came up with another way—the way of a vegetable and fruit offering. God rejected that offering, and because of the way that Cain chose, God rejected Cain. If we want to be acceptable to God, we must do things His way.
In order for the believer to become the recipient of the promises of God, we must overcome fear, distraction, and discouragement, and we must rely on God. So often we attempt to figure it all out. We take command because that is what makes us feel better. When that does not work, we become discouraged and oftentimes release the vision or the promises that God intended for us. Be patient and let God bring to you the things He has promised. It may be later than you would like, and it may be sooner than you think. If you will continue to believe what God has revealed to you, then one day, you will find yourself in possession of that which God has designed.