PROMISE: a declaration that a particular thing will happen
by Lisa Brittain
A promise – a guarantee of a desired and anticipated outcome. We all want a promise. We all ask for a guarantee of a good outcome in various situations. We crave assurance. We desire faithfulness.
I believe the hope of promise is sewn into the fabric of our being by God’s design. God created man and woman with a heart for everlasting relationship. It’s why we have fairy tales ending in the words we long to be true… And they lived happily ever after.
However, as much as we desire a life full of promises unbroken, how practical is this expectation? What does promise mean in our society? Practically speaking how many people actually keep their promises? And are we really surprised when promises are broken? Oh and what if I zoom in a little closer to home? How about my own track record for keeping every promise I’ve ever made; even those made in all sincerity?
As a high school junior, before I had any inkling of a Holy Spirit controlled life, I received a promise ring from my boyfriend just as he departed for college. The ring represented his promise to faithfully maintain our relationship while we lived many miles apart. We were too young for an engagement. His mother was absolutely opposed. She, rather unhappily, conceded to the gift of the promise as it seemed to her less of a commitment.
Our intentions for keeping our promise were true and pure in the moment. We were young, immature and most of all living to satisfy our flesh. Once I made my own pilgrimage to college it was time for me to learn the truth; the one to whom I was promised had found another love. I was broken-hearted and abandoned. Yet, in the deepest part of my heart, I knew how difficult it had been for me to remain true. Honestly, I was more in love with the idea of being ‘promised to’ than I was in love with the man.
Unfortunately, I was only at the beginning of promises made and promises broken – by others and by me too. Perhaps it was, more than any other reason, this desire to be promised and my heart-craving to belong, to be accepted and loved without fail and without abandonment, which set me on a path to find God.
As my peers encouraged and challenged me to open the Bible and read it for myself, words like this pierced my heart and soul and drew me in.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed (me) in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose (me) in Him before the foundation of the world, that (I) should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined (me) for adoption to Himself as (a daughter) through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will… Ephesians 1:3-5
(Making the scripture personal with emphasis, my idea)
This word of God promises me – even offers assurance – God’s intent toward me is to bless me because He chose me and loves me so much I am adopted as His daughter because it is His will. Not only does God want to bless me, but He has in store for me every spiritual blessing available in heaven. But wait, there’s more! Not only did God choose me, but He did so before the world was even created.
Furthermore, God makes a guarantee of His promise by setting His seal on me. Far more comforting and valuable, this seal, than the tiny little promise ring I had been given by a flesh and blood young man.
In Him (meaning Christ) (I) also, when (I) heard the word of truth, the gospel of (my) salvation, and believed in Him, (was) sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of (my) inheritance until (I) acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
Many years ago I promised myself to God with the fullest of good intentions and desire to faithfully follow Him. To this day I find the greatest JOY in these words from Isaiah 43:1,
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
And all these (more than) thirty years of being betrothed to my Lord I must painfully admit He has never not been faithful and I have partially been so. My Lord and my King, He is the One who has kept every one of His promises perfectly, and I have fallen short on several. He never leaves; no He’s never forsaken me or given up because I honestly have had a season or two of wandering from His side. He never faints nor grows weary; however, I must confess for a number of years I faded into lukewarm – just going through the motions.
How many times have I found myself in good company with dear old Peter (one of the twelve disciples of Jesus)? He was rather bossy in his conversations with Jesus before the cross. How many times did Peter pretty much tell Jesus He didn’t know what He was talking about? Sometimes I imagine Peter saying to Jesus nose to nose (for Jesus’ own good of course), “Look, man, you might be Messiah, but you’ve got to get over this obsession with death.”
Even in our current day, not many would doubt Peter’s love for Jesus. I certainly don’t doubt Peter’s friendship and devotion as portrayed in the Scriptures. And yet, loyal Peter, moments after pledging life and imprisonment to Jesus, found himself (even as the cock crowed) guilty of denying he ever knew his Teacher, let alone lived with Him. Oh, the demoralizing agony of being confronted with our own weakness of the flesh. How quickly we turn aside when threatened and accused – tempted to betray our heart to another – even in an attempt at self-preservation.
So, these words found anew in Hebrews (while I take time out to ponder the word and idea of promise) simply thrill and refresh my soul.
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, He swore by Himself. Hebrews 6:13
Only God is faithful. Only God is able to secure my soul, renew a right spirit in me, and wash me clean when I once again turn to Him in recognition of the filth I have invited into my life. Only God is able to place on me His seal of His Spirit and make good on the guarantee of my soul purchased by His Son’s blood on the cross. He alone has kept every promise ever made, and so I stand in agreement with my friend, Peter…
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them (His perfect promises) you (and I) may become partakers of (His) divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-5
A promise is truly and most assuredly a declaration that a particular thing will happen when the One who promises is God Himself since He has no one greater by whom to swear.
Aren’t we grateful?
Lisa Brittain is an avid follower of Jesus. Her passion is taking women by the hand and introducing them to intimate relationship with Jesus in prayer and discipleship. Also, she is married to Randy. They are empty-nesters except for their 3 rescue pups – Nole, Liberty and Victor. You can see more of Lisa's writings on her blog: eyesonjesusandshine.wordpress.com