Responding to the Promises

November 22, 2023

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. 2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT

Very immature children misunderstand the nature of promises. But as they grow healthily, they begin to understand that a promise has two sides and two parts for it to be effective. The first one, of course, is the Promise-Maker. The promise-maker makes certain assurances that what he or she guarantees will be upheld. The promise-recipient has responsibilities as well—he or she must act in faith and work in cooperation with the desired result.

For instance, if I promise I will take to you to India with me on an expense-paid trip, leaving from Cleveland-Hopkins Airport, Delta Airlines, on the 2:04 p.m. flight (you’ll need to be there by noon) on June 1, you have to believe me and do your part to make it possible. You will need to get a passport, an India visa, check your vaccinations, learn what kind of clothing you will need in June on that continent, and pack your suitcase. You will need to be sure you get the time off from work and have someone to cover your home responsibilities while you are gone. If you do all that and show up at the airport at noon on June 1, you can expect to be in India for the adventure of a lifetime before you know it. But if you don’t get your passport and visa, or leave any of your responsibilities undone, the likelihood is that you will be very disappointed. Not because I have broken my promise. It will be because you have not taken hold of the promise.

The same is true of parenting and any other area where God has made promises to us. As Peter says, they ALL are available to us because we have come to know Jesus as our Savior. But becoming a Christian doesn’t automatically make you a great husband or wife, a great mom or dad. It DOES automatically qualify you to receive all of the promises of God. YOU are not enough, but when you act on His promises you HAVE enough. That is a vital distinction, and the promise can’t be fulfilled without understanding that.

Paul lists areas where we need to step in and step up. Every single one is directly applicable to leading the next generation. You need moral excellence, knowledge, self-control (right?), patience and endurance, godliness, and familial affection. As you act on God’s promises and work with Him in all these areas, you will find as Peter says, “The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be” (2 Peter 1:8 NLT).

  • Father, You are the perfect parent to me. Thank You for providing all the resources I need to lead and parent where I am. I want to take advantage of all You have promised.