Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Pain of Promises

by Donna L. Watkins

Many of us carry wounds in our minds from childhood which are based on promises that were never fulfilled. Maybe it was something as simple as a family camping trip, or something as grave as a promise that a parent would never leave you ... and then they did. When promises don't come to fulfillment, they leave a scar on our hearts and a notch in our ability to trust.

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When we grow up not being able to trust, we will have a more difficult time when we get saved. As we read more and more of His promises and seemingly factual statements, we become more confused because our lives are certainly not portraying what we read.

We are "a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17), but we look like the old one in the mirror. We are "more than conquerers" (Romans 8:37), but we seem to be on the losing end of every battle we take on. "By His stripes we are healed" (I Peter 2:24), but we deal with the same health issues, pain, deformity, fatigue, disabilities, that we had before salvation. We have the Holy Spirit in us and the fruit of that “is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Gal. 5:22), but our harvesting basket has slim pickings.
So when it comes to dealing with those divine promises that seem to be unfulfilled, we tend to lean towards childlike distrust, rather than childlike faith. Whether it's an addiction, various forms of lust, a distasteful habit, physical healing, or emotional health, the simple promise of "ask and it will be given to you" (Luke 11:9) makes us feel like God didn't come through on His end of the deal.

Why don't our experiences line up with His promises? "Old things" still bother and plague us day and night. Major heart issues stare us in the face all day long, like anger, insecurity, fear, anxiety, bitterness, jealousy, unforgiveness ... and the list goes on. We get confused about how God can say one thing in the Bible and we experience the opposite of it.

There are various ways we can deal with this situation. One, we feel like a neglected and rejected child. Sadly this has caused many to turn away from our Heavenly Father and gradually slip down the slope of believing there really is no God, or least not one that we're interested in knowing.

Another is to cover the lack of understanding of the promises with some form of religion since we seem void of any real relationship with our Father. Many Christians today operate in this mode and are often found to say, "You just can't understand God. What will be will be." It releases the burden of disappointment to make Him "far off" and "a mystery" while at the same time giving ourselves permission to be a passive bystander of life seemingly lived as a victim.

The simple truth is that the promises of Scripture don't automatically manifest in us when we come to Christ. As the Father placed us in Christ on the Cross, with all of our sins, diseases and curses, He bore all of this for us and in exchange we accepted the gift at salvation which invited Him to live in us. It's us in Christ and Him in us.

There is a way to break all the unhealthy habits and issues and be healed of the diseases and infirmities, and to become who He says we are in His Word. First we have to understand Christ's provision for us, and understand the principles that govern those provisions, and then implement those principles into our lives by the renewing of the mind.

Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." When we get saved our spirit gets filled with His Spirit, but our body and soul remain the same. Sometimes there is a miraculous change of heart or freedom from an addiction, but for the most part we are the same in body and soul (mind, will and emotions) that we were before salvation, but we now have the power of Christ to overcome all the wrong thoughts and beliefs we've had and turn on the promises of God in our lives.

In essence, having the promises of God manifest in our lives hinges on us. That's not a popular thought, but nonetheless, it is true. So often in Scripture Jesus said we only had to believe, that according to our faith it was done, that it's His power through us that makes these things happen:

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"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20 ). Jesus said, "I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy" (Luke 10:19). He has fought the devil and won the victory, but we have to enforce that victory and take what is rightfully ours.

We have to learn to be commanders, not beggars, when it comes to prayer. So often, our prayers are directed at God to do something.  God sacrificed His own Son because He loved us so much. He became sin for us and now we are able to rule over sin, but to do so, we have to acknowledge our position in Christ and STAND. We become victorious Christians when we live by the power of God’s might. Our weaknesses are not an issue if we are drawing on the divine power of God.

Ephesians 6:10-17 tells us, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your STAND against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to STAND your ground, and after you have done everything, to STAND. STAND firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."

What God has already given to us in our spirit, we have to learn how to take hold of by faith, and implement it into our lives. That's how we receive what He says is already ours. Then we become who we were designed to be ... we become who we really are in Christ.

The Bible isn't an easy-read fiction book; it's an inspired book from God, but we can only understand it through revelation. God can show each of us something totally different in a Scripture and it is still God's Word because it says it is "alive and active" (Heb. 4:12). It was given by revelation and it is understood by revelation. For too long people have thought quantity was the key to reading the Bible, but you can spend weeks on one Scripture as God reveals more and more depth of meaning to you, as you seek to know Him.

Relationship is what God desired when He created man ... and it's still what He desires. "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). Will you take time to be with Him? Just sit quietly before Him and let Him reveal Himself to you. He loves you so much and desires to be spend time with you.

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