How do you respond when the things God has promised you don’t seem to be happening? This is an important topic because how you respond when God doesn’t seem to be coming through for you could be the difference between you stinking or not stinking – spiritually speaking. I don’t know about you, but I take consistent measures to make sure that I don’t stink physically. It’s important to me and I’m pretty sure that most of the the people around me appreciate my efforts. But how often do we think about stinking spiritually? Did you know that God speaks to us through His Word about stinking spiritually? If you want to know how to not stink spiritually, please continue reading.
Jesus has made many wonderful promises to those who trust in Him as Savior, such as eternal life, unconditional love, peace, and an abundant life, just to name a few. Some of God’s promises are for all believers, but God may have also promised something very specific to you through the voice of the Holy Spirit. In either case it’s important to know that God gives you certain promises, and even more importantly, you need to know that God will keep those promises.
However, before we go any further, we need to understand that there are a couple of ways in which we are responsible for God’s promises NOT being fulfilled in our life. One way is to misinterpret our desires as God’s will. Sometimes we can desire something so strongly that our heart and mind wrongly morph it into a promise of God. That “promise” may never happen because it never was a promise from God in the first place. Another reason we may not see God’s promises fulfilled in our life is due to our own actions that are fighting against the very thing God wants to do in our life. An example would be in the area of financial stewardship. If you can’t pay your rent or if you don’t have money to buy groceries it might seem that God is not honoring His promise to provide for your needs. But if you’re paying big payments on a new car, eating out every night, and maxing out your credit card, you’re sabotaging God’s promise to you. I’ve seen people do this very thing and then say that God didn’t answer their prayer to provide for them. We need to remember that God is not a vending machine that we put our prayers into, push the button and get whatever we want.
But what if we know for sure we have a promise from God that we’re not sabotaging, and yet it’s not being fulfilled? What do we do? Or maybe more importantly, what should we NOT do?
When life is challenging and we don’t seem to be experiencing what God has promised, it’s easy to pull back from our faith and begin to believe that God isn’t at work on our behalf. But according to the Bible, shrinking back from our faith is not an option we should consider. Hebrews 10:38 says, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”
When life’s circumstances cause us to back away from our faith, we stink spiritually.
Hebrews 10:39 says, “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” The Greek (original language of the New Testament) word for destroyed in this verse is apoleia. The basic meaning of this word is destroyed, wasted, and perished. But one of the root words of apoleia means “the stench of death”. I know that we may not all agree on every smell as being good or bad, but I think we’d all agree that the smell of death is bad. It stinks. And that’s one of the points God is making in Hebrews 10:39. It stinks (like being destroyed by death and then rotting) to once have had faith and then backed away from it because we didn’t see God move on our behalf and on our timetable.
So if God thinks it stinks for us to back away from our faith when the going gets tough, what smells good to Him? Hebrews 10:36 gives us the answer. It says, “Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.”
The Greek word for patient endurance is hypomone which is made up of two Greek words. Hypo means under and mone means to remain, to continue, to abide. Mone is the same word Jesus uses in John 15 when He says we need to abide in Him and that apart from Him we can produce no fruit. So what Hebrews 10:36 is telling us is that even under a heavy load of life’s circumstances, we need to remain steadfast in our faith, don’t back away, be patient, and know that God’s promise is coming.
Patient endurance leads to the fulfillment of God’s promises.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:13 that when we’re under attack we need to put on the armor of God so that we can stand up against anything. If you will purpose in your heart to not back away from your faith when hard times come and to take a strong stand of faith, God will equip you and empower you to hang in there until your breakthrough comes. And if it’s a promise from God, it’s coming!
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20
10 Powerful Promises of God
- A Hopeful Future – Jeremiah 29:11
- Rest For Your Soul – Matthew 11:28-29
- Power and Strength – Isaiah 40:29-31
- Provide All Your Needs – Philippians 4:19
- God’s Unconditional and Everlasting Love For You – Romans 8:37-39
- Freedom From Fear – 2 Timothy 1:7
- Peace – John 14:27
- Eternal Life – Romans 6:23
- Abundant Life – John 10:10
- Always With You – Deuteronomy 31:6
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