If you read something awesome in the Bible, but your life looks entirely different from what you read… what do you do?
What does it look like to take a promise of God and use it to turn around a messed‐up area in your life? What does it look like?
It all starts by asking yourself a simple question: “Who's in charge of me?”
If your feelings are in charge… then shut them down. Your emotional nature will tell you what to do at every opportunity—if you let it. As you read today's article you will have every opportunity to be offended by something said. Shut your feelings down and begin to think from the part of you that's your “last man (woman) standing.” Think from the part of you that remains strong when all else fails. Think from the decent and noble part of you that eventually tells the depraved part of you to stop it. (There are Biblical terms for what I'm saying but I want to keep it simple.)
The Bible is filled, cover‐to‐cover, with God's promises. I want to encourage you to understand that when God makes a promise, He is saying “Yes!”
What does it mean when God says “Yes”? It means that God has finished His part.
So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30 NKJV)
Every promise of God is finished. It's as if God has delivered to your door every resource you need, to fix whatever needs to be fixed. He has done everything He needs to do.
We do not have to ask God to do what He has already done. We should not ask God to do what He has already done. It is, in fact, an insult to ask God to do what He has already done. All of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ.
For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT)
It's easy to read right past the significance of this statement. But every promise of God is represented in what Jesus did for you and for me. Everything was fixed on the Cross… everything. Little things… big things… everything that is, was, and will ever be wrong was made right on the Cross.
God has finished His part. To ask Him to do what He has already done is an exercise in futility, and will only distract you from doing what you need to do.
Yes… you have a part you must play in bringing the promises of God into reality in your life. God has provided you with all the resources, and He will even help you administer those resources. But you still have to act on those promises. He's done His part; it's up to you to do yours.
This may lead to drastic changes in the way you think, the way you pray, the way you act. Are you prepared to make those necessary changes? Are you prepared to take responsibility for implementing God's promises?
To help you get a feel for taking a promise from theory to practice, let's move through a very general outline. Assume for a moment that I am suffering from severe depression, but I believe the peace of God will fix it. We will use this as our issue, and use a passage from Isaiah as our promise:
You will keep [him] in perfect peace, [Whose] mind [is] stayed [on You], Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV)
Please note: I'm dealing with mental health issues, for the purpose of this illustration, strictly with the supernatural power of God. Man has a different way of dealing with these kinds of issues—which I am not qualified to discuss. Please extend me a little grace if you are a mental health professional. What I am describing works—I know from my own experience and from the experience of others.
First of all, I study every instance of peace (and any related term) that I can find in the Bible and I come to the following conclusions:
- Just as Jesus made it possible for me to live in forgiveness, He made it possible for me to live in peace. He took a beating for my ability to live in peace. It is my right to live in peace. If Jesus is my Savior then He is also my Peace. I will pursue living in peace with the same intensity as I would pursue living someplace with fresh air. I don't have to ask Him to give me peace; it's already there for the taking. (See Isaiah chapter 53.)
- The peace of God fixes every… every… every mental health issue. If I allow God no access to my distressed mind, then it cannot be fixed at all. If I allow God limited access to my distressed mind, then I will have limited results. But if I give God complete access to my distressed mind, then it will be completely fixed. (See Isaiah 26:3.)
We'll stop off here and continue the illustration on Monday. At this point, I want to add some further explanation just as plainly as I can.
You may be okay so far, if all I'm talking about is a little depression now and then. But if God can only fix the easy stuff, can He really fix anything at all? If you are struggling with the exceptions at this point—the birth defects, the accidents, the beatings, the mental retardation—I ask you to bring the most extreme example you can think of to your mind. Take that individual and put him or her into the arms of Jesus—not a poetic Jesus, but the resurrected Jesus. Could anything attached to him or her that's not of God survive such an encounter? Hardly….
While the resurrected Jesus may not be walking the earth at this time, the Spirit of God is. And the effect of being fully in the arms of the Holy Spirit is the same as being in Jesus' arms. It now becomes just a practical issue: The more stuff between us and God, the fewer the results. Eliminate the stuff and improve the results.
Please don't blame God for the exceptions. Sherrel and I have seen more exceptions than successes, but not because God couldn't or didn't do His part. Those who were the exceptions just had too much stuff between them and God—too much stuff keeping them from His healing touch.
Is anyone an exception to God's forgiveness? Of course not! But unforgiven people die every day… because there was just too much stuff between them and God.
We grieve when any unsaved person dies in his or her sin, and we wonder why he or she did not push through to the Savior. But we don't diminish God's ability or desire to forgive. It should be no different for any other promise of God. We should grieve when any person lives outside of a promise of God, and wonder why he or she does not push through to the Savior. But we shouldn't diminish God's ability or desire to say “Yes!”
Please, please consider what I'm saying. To know that God is never the variable keeps alive our hope, and gives us the strength to push through whatever lies between us and Him.
Have a good weekend,