By Dr. Charles Stanley
In the Bible, we learn that Sarah was 90 years old when God told her husband Abraham, “I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her” (Gen. 17:16). Abraham considered this so unlikely that he laughed. But God was faithful to His word. Sad to say, our world increasingly places little value on words. We’ve seen politicians retract campaign commitments once they take office. And though people swear to tell the truth in court, many nevertheless resort to lying for self-preservation. Just like Abraham, it’s difficult to know whom and what we can trust. Thankfully, there is One who keeps His word and never changes. As Hebrews 10:23 tells us, “[God] who promised is faithful.” Today, as in Bible times, the Father always keeps His promises. Yet some people become discouraged because they fail to see results after asking for His assurance. We can avoid frustration by understanding how Scripture teaches us to claim His promises. First, be aware that some pledges are limited to a certain situation. God told Abraham that he would have a son. But Genesis 17:16 is not a promise we can claim for ourselves, as it was meant specifically for the Jewish patriarch. Second, many promises are intended for all believers, such as God’s assurance that He’ll never leave us (Heb. 13:5). Third, some promises are conditional. For example, the guarantee of Psalm 37:4 requires obedience: “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When evaluating a biblical promise, we should ask ourselves: * Am I asking for this promise with a spirit of submission to the will of God? * Might an answer to my petition harm another person or interfere with God’s will for his life? * Does the Holy Spirit bear witness to my spirit that God is pleased by my request? * Does it contradict the Word of God?
* Will my desire advance my spiritual growth?
If we claim the Lord’s promises with a...