One of the most amazing things about God is that He chose to give us promises to hold onto (2 Peter 1:4). God’s promises are a declaration of what He intends to do. He fulfills His promises 100% of the time. So much of the Christian walk of faith is confidently holding onto His promises while we wait to see the promise realized.
Over the years, I’ve noticed some believers misapplying God’s Word and often getting in the ditch in regard to their faith. Here are a couple of guardrails to keep in mind when claiming God’s promises.
- Don’t mistake a promise with a principle.
God keeps His promises every time, on time. However, principles are statements of general truths. Principles are declaring if you do this then you can generally expect this to happen. The book of Proverbs is written as a book of principles more than a book of promises. An example is Proverbs 15:1 that says, “a soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.” That is stating a principle, not a promise. We’ve all probably been involved where a soft answer was met with continual wrath – however, that is rare. Another proverb sometimes claimed as a promise is (Proverbs 22:6). This is great wisdom and generally true but not a promise.
- Don’t confuse a unique promise with a universal promise.
Most of this has to do with understanding the promise in context. In some cases, a promise was made to a particular person at a particular time for a particular purpose. An example would be Abraham in (Genesis 12:1-4). It would be out of context for you to claim a promise that God was going to give you a land and offspring like He did Abraham.
One way you can know if a promise is universal is if it’s repeated in other places in Scripture. One example would be the idea that God is with His children (Psalm 23:4; Matthew 28:20). Within those two guardrails are hundreds and hundreds of “precious and great” promises that God has waiting for you. Go get some!