By Samuel Parrish, Campus Director, LHM Charleston, SC
“… by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” – 2 Peter 1:4
As a young man, I needed braces to straighten my teeth. Consequently, many foods were off limits to me because they would ruin the detested metal attached to my face. The burden of abstaining from all candy broke my young heart. To ease this load, my dad agreed to take on the challenge with me and not eat the foods I couldn’t eat. I was ecstatic…until the afternoon I walked in and found him eating a bag of Laffy Taffy.
In that moment, I didn’t remember the second job he took on so I could own an oboe instead of renting one. I didn’t remember the hours he spent with me building Lego castles when I didn’t want to play outside. Instead, I remembered a promise I was watching him break.
Everything we do is the result of promises made and promises broken. And I’m very good at remembering broken promises. We have selective memories as it is, but suffering seems to make it even worse. This mindset even pervades our spiritual lives. We say things like, “It doesn’t matter what God has done for me in the past. If this circumstance does not change, He isn’t good.”
In his second letter, Peter tells the early church—during a time of great suffering—that we can endure precisely because we have a Father who never breaks His promises. Paul says in verse 3 that the knowledge of Christ, the very truth He has shared about Himself with us, assures us “precious and very great promises.”
These eternal promises offer escape from the dark shadow of a lifetime of broken promises:
Every promise for protection where we ended up wounded.
Every promise for relationship where we ended up alone.
Every promise for acceptance where we ended up rejected.
In Christ, we are partakers of the divine nature, a wondrous and mysterious union with God as our Father, Jesus as our Lord, and the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Guide! We are no longer bound by the corruption of this world, or even the sinful desires of our own hearts.
Yet we will hurt again, be betrayed again, or fall to sin…again. How do we remember that we are the benefactors of new and glorious promises?
We meditate on them.
Joshua commands the people of Israel to think on the law of the Lord night and day in chapter 1 of the book that bears his name. As simplistic as it may sound, the best way to not forget the promises of God is to think about them on purpose. But how do we keep the truth from devolving into cliché if we are thinking about it all the time?
We memorize them.
Difficulties in life and the sudden attacks of the enemy easily tear down Christian platitudes and nebulous truisms about God. The first temptation was to doubt God’s words, and our first parents fell because they didn’t remember them precisely. How much easier will it be to fulfill the command to meditate on them night and day if you have large sections of scripture committed to memory?
Lastly, we memorialize them.
It can be as simple as a list you keep of what God has done in your life since you started following Him. If you can’t see the hand of the Lord on your life, ask Him for eyes to see it! The Holy Spirit brings clarity, not confusion, and works in our lives for us to see God as most glorious!
So what broken promises continue to define you? And what might a purposed pursuit of God’s promises change in how you see Him, your life, and your struggles with sin?