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Do You Really Believe God’s Promises?

“Take things with a grain of salt” was often said to me as a young kid growing up in a rural farming community in north central Missouri. This phrase points to our tendency to shade the truth and our need to guard ourselves from getting hurt from misplaced trust. Maybe you are like me and have a friend who’s inclined to make empty promises, so you have learned to take his words with a grain of salt. Or perhaps you are lucky and have never met someone with such a disposition. Often, however, the longer we know people quick to promise but rare to deliver, the more we tend not to believe something until it happens in front of our eyes.

As I sit in my kitchen drinking coffee and writing this article, I wonder if many of us have approached the promises of God with the same disposition. We may never openly admit it, but if we evaluate our walks with God at one point or another, I am almost certain we have taken a promise he has given us “with a grain of salt.” This article’s goal isn’t to attack us but rather to engage us in reflection as to why we feel we can’t always trust God’s promises. Ultimately, I hope this pause to reflect helps encourage us toward greater faith in God’s promises and a healthier relationship with him.

God’s Promises Are Reliable

Taking a survey of Scripture, you will find countless promises made by God to his people, from God himself or through his prophets in the OT and followers in the NT. The goal of this section of the article is to examine a few of these in hopes that you, the reader, can be reminded that the promises of God are reliable.

The book of Exodus narrates how that the nation of Israel was in bondage in Egypt for many years (see Exodus 12:40-41; Genesis 15:3; Acts 7:6). We learn that they were subject to slavery and tight rule by Pharaoh. The remarkable story of their eventual deliverance reminds us that resilience and faithfulness are critical aspects of our faith. As we dig a little deeper, we find out that the promise of eventual freedom was inherent in God’s promises long before the captivity had even begun. God’s promise that they would inherit the promised land had spanned several generations, first with Abraham (see Genesis 12:7), then to Abraham’s son Isaac (see Genesis 26:3-4), and finally with Isaac’s son, Jacob (see Genesis 28:13). As you can imagine, waiting all this time on God to move, the nation of Israel probably began to take this promise of inheriting the promised land with a grain of salt.

Yet, with the Exodus, the promise came to be fulfilled, and the nation of Israel was led into the promised land they had been longing for. This proves that when God makes a promise, it always comes true. It may not be in our desired timing, but it will come to fruition if we are patient enough.


“Taking a survey of Scripture, you will find countless promises made by God to his people.”


Another example: Micah was a prophet in the Old Testament whose prophetic message included news of a coming messiah, born in Bethlehem and “whose origins are from of old” (see Micah 5:2). Given that it took over seven hundred years for the prophecy to come true, I imagine many Israelites began viewing this promise with a measure of skepticism. Yet, if we skip ahead to the New Testament, we find that Micah had spoken true.

These promises took hundreds of years to find fulfillment. I can struggle with impatience to wait 15 minutes at a restaurant for my chance to sit and eat. From these and other biblical stories, we learn that we can wait and trust that God’s got this.

What Promises?

Simply acknowledging the possibilities of God’s promises and the evidence of them found within Scripture does not fully capture the point I am to bring forward with this article. I want to highlight some of the promises we as Christians should be clinging to as we navigate this difficult journey of life. One of these promises is for peace amongst those who believe (see Philippians 4:6-7 and Matthew 11:28-29). With escalating depression and suicide rates, it seems more and more evident that we need peace. Are you trusting the promise of God for peace in your life?

God also promises renewal for those who follow him. God renews our inner lives and molds us into Christ’s likeness, something which is essential for our walk in a fallen and broken world. Such promises can be found all throughout Scripture, but two places that come to mind are Isaiah 40:31 (“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint,” NIV) and Romans 8:28 (“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” NIV).


“Are you trusting the promise of God for peace in your life?”


One more promise I want to point out is the promise of the Holy Spirit. This is crucial because, for the first time since humanity’s fall, we now have the closest imaginable access to God, because his Spirit lives within us. God communicated with his people in the Old Testament through the prophets, yet today we can communicate directly with him because of this promise. This promise for a helper was made to Jesus’ disciples and extends to all who place their faith in Christ (see John 14:15-17; Acts 2).

A Couple How To’s

So, how practically can we trust God’s promises with more faith and fewer reservations? The first how-to is simple (but that doesn’t make it easy): be patient. We live in a right-now culture. Crippling credit card debt plagues our country because everybody has to have what they want right now. This mirrors the approach many people have toward the promises of God: if they were true, he would do what he promised right now, right? This is an attitude I commonly hear from people struggling with skepticism or doubt. In my life, cultivating patience looks like making requests but accepting whatever God gives me, trusting it’s for the best (see Luke 22:42). If you want to approach God’s promises with greater trust, it starts with being patient.

Second, growing in trust requires dedication to his Word. Ask yourself this question: Am I actively trusting any of God’s promises over my life? If the answer is no, then you should follow that with, am I studying his Word? We cannot trust God’s promises if we do not know what they are and where we will find them in his Word. So many Christians today tend to get just a dose of God’s Word on Sunday morning (on the Sunday mornings they make it to church), relying on this sample for their faith journey. Bite-sized nuggets of Scripture can help us maintain our knowledge, but I encourage you to dig into the Word regularly. In my own life, this has taken shape through Bible reading plans and daily devotionals. Not every plan may work for you, but find what does and do it.


“Growing in trust requires dedication to his Word.” 


So, are you taking God’s promises with “a grain of salt”? Or are you fully trusting the things he has for you? It may likely mean the difference between receiving what he has for you and not.

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