Today’s guest post is written by Troy E. Schmidt, author of Fish Sandwiches: The Delight of Receiving God’s Promises.
When two people first get married, they give of themselves as much as they can in light of having only limited information about each other. Then, as the years go on, and they see each other in action, they grow closer as their trust increases. True intimacy takes time; it’s not instantaneous.
The same is true of your relationship with Jesus. As you mature in your faith and learn more about Jesus through his word as you study his Word, you see how much more he can be trusted. As you see prayers answered and sense his hand moving in your life, you surrender more and more of yourself to him. Qualities such as security and confidence build over time and you experience increasing peace as the relationship matures.
So how do you start relying on God’s promises to strengthen that relationship? Let me offer you five ways.
#1: Know God’s promises.
Read the Word of God daily—every chance you get. Let it be the soundtrack of your life. When I gave my life to Christ, I read the Word of God every day, taking notes and underlining passages, and I even listened to the Bible on cassette tapes when I worked out and drove in the car. You can’t trust the promises unless you know them and make them the foundation of your life.
#2: Test God’s promises.
In my book, Fish Sandwiches: The Delight of Receiving God’s Promises, I tell a story of being a new believer and one day finding myself with very little money in my bank account. I had one bill on my desk that I needed to pay or risk being past due. The amount in my checking account matched exactly the amount of the bill. If I wrote the check, I would have exactly $0 remaining.
But I remembered reading in Matthew 6 that Jesus tells us not to worry, because after all, he is faithful to feed the birds, and we are much more valuable to him than they are. I said to myself, “Okay, let’s see if this is true.” So I wrote the check by faith, trusting that God would take care of me. Well, I found out that it was true, and I did not starve. My account was replenished by money generated from jobs that suddenly appeared and the generosity of others.
Embrace those moments of trial by going out on a limb and trusting God in ways that seem idiotic, but actually demonstrate your faith in him.
#3: Pray God’s promises.
In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus offers a model prayer. He says to start our prayers with praise, acknowledging God for who he is, where he is, and what he can do.
Then we must pray for his will to be done. God promises that his will shall come to pass, but we must be open to his will. Prayer prepares our hearts to carry out his will. Then we will acknowledge and understand it.
Jesus also said we can pray for our daily bread—our sustenance to survive—as well as for forgiveness and protection.
#4: Trust God’s promises.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
What does that kind of trust look like? Trust is a heart decision, a willful surrender of all your heart. Half-hearted marriages never work and no husband has ever gotten anywhere by saying, “I love you, honey, with most of my heart.” No, wives want it all, and so does God.
The greatest threat to trusting God is our own understanding—how we see things or how we’ve experienced life before. Once “our” mind starts to process and determine our steps, we get distracted, taking exits and wandering down detours.
Trust is a step-by-step process of submission, following the straightest path to the destination God has determined for us. We would never take the longest route suggested by our GPS; we always prefer the shortest route with the least amount of travel time. And yet, we often find ourselves exhausted when we scrap the straightest paths to satisfy our disoriented desires.
Instead, trust God’s promises to take you where you need to go.
#5: Rest in God’s promises.
Resting in God’s promises is the next step in trusting God’s promises. The opposite of rest is worry.
Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 6:25-34 not to worry about food, drink, our bodies, our clothes, our shelter, or anything else in life. He said that since God takes such good care of the flowers in the fields, why wouldn’t he also take care of the people he created and loves?
Worry does not add a single hour to our lives. In fact, it subtracts hours from our lives.
When information about God’s promises enters our minds, we hear it and understand it. However, we must then apply the truths of those promises to our hearts. We must keep at bay the notion of wanting to process our needs over and over in our minds to figure out our own solutions.
Once we trust, we can relax, take a breath, and truly say, “God’s got this.” It’s a freeing admission of God’s love and strength.
God’s promises were meant to allow us to enjoy the best possible life we can have. In heaven, we will experience the full potential of this rest, an eternal Sabbath free of all stress, worry and fear. There will be absolutely nothing causing us any stress or pressure to perform, complete, compete, or meet any deadlines. Everything will be done in view of an eternal timeline ahead.
But for now, we can experience some of that rest by seeing God’s perspective on today in light of the eternal.
That’s a promise.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version,® NIV.® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Check out Troy’s great book, Fish Sandwiches: The Delight of Receiving God’s Promises.
Troy E. Schmidt is an accomplished writer for television and film, including the series The American Bible Challenge and The All New Mickey Mouse Club. He was also the writer for Max Lucado’s Hermie & Friends children’s video series. He runs the website Reason for Hope: Answers to Your Bible Questions (reasonhope.com). He lives in Florida, where he serves as campus pastor for First Baptist Church Windermere.74