People of the Promise

by Andy Wood on March 31, 2014

in Executing Your Plan, Five LV Laws, Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Waiting

Leap of Faith

One of the most charming words in the English language is the word “promise.”  Do you realize that so much of what we experience, of what we know about God, of our spiritual maturity, and of our success or failure in the Christian life has something to do with how we respond to the promises of God? Check this out:

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God (2 Corinthians 7:1, NLT)

We do not want any of you to grow slack, but to follow the example of those who through sheer patient faith came to possess the promises (Hebrews 6:12, Phillips).

And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires (2 Peter 1:4, NLT).

To put it simply, we are People of the Promise.  So let me get nosey a minute.  What are you trusting God to do today that only He can do?  Where is the evidence in your life that God is keeping His word to you?  What is there about your life that can only be explained by the faithfulness of a loving God?

The original card-carrier for People of the Promise was a man named Abraham.  And we can learn some things from his example. 

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise (Hebrews 11:8-9).

To be People of the Promise, there are certain decisions we have to make.  You are going to have to decide that:

1.  Obedience is more important than answers.

Here was a successful businessman, well respected, with deep roots in his community.  Yet when the Lord said, “Leave,” he left, armed only with a promise.  No answers. No details. Just a promise from God.

Some people try to find their security in getting their questions answered.  These are people who say, “OK, Lord, I’ll obey you, but first I need some answers.  Tell me how it’s going to turn out.” Or, “Tell me why that happened in the past.”

The problem with looking for answers and guarantees is that you will never get all your questions answered to your satisfaction. At some point, to be a Person of the Promise, you’re just going to have to decide to take the next obedient step and trust God with the details.

2. God’s promise is more important than your security.

Here was a very wealthy businessman, who was also way past what we would call retirement age.  Other than children, he lacked nothing.  He had friends. He had esteem. He had possessions.  And yet God says, “Abraham, I want you to uproot and leave. If you do, I’ll make you a great nation.”

Why didn’t Abraham play it safe?  Why didn’t he opt for security?  Because he was a Person of the Promise!  And the most secure place in all the world is right in the center of God’s will.

3.  Reassurance is more important than results.

Abraham sojourned in his land of promise.  Such a nice word, sojourn.  Do you know what it means?  It means that he wandered around.  It means he wasn’t quite sure where he was going. He pitched his tent, camped out, and waited for further instructions.

When he first got to Canaan, God told him, “I will give this land to your offspring.”  Abraham’s job?  Walk it.  And walk it some more.  Years later, God told Joshua, one of Abraham’s descendants, “Every place the sole of your foot treads upon, I have given to you.”  When did God give it to Joshua’s generation?  When the original Person of the Promise walked it.

Meanwhile, what about those results he was promised?  He waited years for Isaac.  It would be many generations before his descendants became a nation, and even more than that before they entered the Promised Land.  But Abraham had something more important than results.  He had the constant reassurance that he had heard from the living God.

Can you imagine if in Abraham’s wandering he came across somebody from the old stomping grounds?  “Hey Abraham! Where’s your great nation?  Where’s your big family?”  That could have been awkward if the only way to keep score was in what he could see in the immediate.  But Abraham was a Man of the Promise. His faith substantiated what eyes couldn’t see.

Sooner or later, if you’re going to experience the depths of the promises of God, you’re going to have to decide that they’re worth waiting for, and that His assurance is more important than your visible results.  And that may mean you walking it out somehow.

4. God is bigger than your impossible situations.

It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them (Hebrews 11:11-12, NLT).

Sarah and Abraham were given the ultimate impossible situation and a promise from God.  You – not your maid, not a servant, YOU – will have a son.  And the decision the Sarah made was that God is faithful to His promises.

All of us eventually face impossible situations.  Hopeless scenarios. Incurable diseases.  Unsolvable problems.  But the most important thing for People of the Promise to determine in all that is not what the forecasters say – it’s what God says.  What’s the promise?  And how do I live based on it?

5.  There is more to life than what you can see and feel.

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth (Hebrews 11:13, NLT).

This is an important distinction about the promises. When God makes a promise to you, it’s to someone who is living, regardless of the condition of your body.  Sometimes the promise is for this life – sometimes the promise is for the next.  Either way, God doesn’t make promises to consumers. He makes them to long-term investors.

Being People of the Promise means we’re in it for the long haul – actually for the eternal haul.  And the promises we stand on aren’t weakened or cheapened by the fact that we live in a material world or an aging body.  Promises are for spiritual nomads – people who can see beyond the limits of space and time.

6. Your relationship with God is more important than your greatest gifts.

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19, NLT).

In one of the most poignant stories in the Bible, once Isaac had grown into a young man, God tested Abraham by asking him to offer his son up as a sacrifice.  Abraham had a choice – Was God faithful to his promises or not? Could God be trusted or not?  Was his relationship with God more important than his relationship with his only son?

You know how that story ends.

I’ve met many people who loved God and the things of God, so long as it didn’t mess with their plans for their kids.  Or their money.  Or their career.  Or their retirement.

See, it’s possible to make idols, even of God’s sweetest gifts to us.  And you can’t ever truly experience the depths of the promises until you embrace the Promise-Maker as your highest love.  And that WILL be tested.

 

If you are a follower of Christ, you have a legacy of faith and a rich destiny of promise. But you only become a Person of the Promise by choosing to walk in it.  Why limit yourself to earthly substitutes when the Promise-Maker is inviting you to so much more?

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