Since the beginning of time, keeping a promise has had its challenges—just ask Adam and Eve. Thankfully, however, there’s Someone we always can count on to see His promises through.
The Bible assures us, “God is not a man, so he does not lie…. Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19 NLT).
God’s not like us. It’s actually impossible for Him to lie (Hebrews 6:18). He‘s rock solid and consistent when it comes to keeping His word.
But maybe that hasn’t been the case for you or someone you know.
Maybe a situation didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, and it left you wondering…
Is God a Promise Keeper or a Promise Breaker?
While the Bible is full of promises God has made to mankind for millennia, there’s something you should know: It’s not all on Him to see those promises through.
If you want the full benefit of all of God’s promises, then consider the five following ingredients necessary for a promise to work. Keep in mind, you’re the deciding factor that makes or breaks God’s promises in your life.
Ingredient No. 1: Promises Require Commitment
“Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation.… All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” –Genesis 12:1-3
A promise requires at least two parties who are willing to commit to the process.
When God asked Abraham to leave everyone and everything that was familiar behind, and follow Him 3400+ miles to a place he knew nothing about—that was a BIG ask! It required some serious commitment on Abraham’s part.
But then, think about God’s end of the bargain: “I will make you a great nation…every human being will be blessed because of you!”
That was big, too! Especially since Abraham was 70 years old, and his wife, Sarah, was 60, AND they never had been able to have children. God was stepping out there.
The Apostle Peter describes the promises God made throughout Scripture as “exceeding great and precious” (2 Peter 1:4, KJV). They’re “great” because those who dared to trust God experienced great benefits in their lives. But notice, Peter also calls God’s promises “precious.” They are precious—in part—because they come at a high cost of commitment.
Abraham and Sarah committed to the process and relocated to a faraway land where they prospered, increased and eventually held a healthy baby boy in their arms. For the past 4,000 years their family has continued to grow and bless us all.
How about you? How far would you be willing to go just on someone’s word? How big of a promise would you dare commit to?
When it comes to getting into agreement with God over any of His promises, those are the issues you need to confront and resolve. Rest assured God will keep His word; He just needs your commitment to move forward.
Ingredient No. 2: Promises Require Purpose
“[God] has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature.” –2 Peter 1:4
Behind every “great and precious” promise of God there is a great and precious purpose. And as we just saw, the greater the purpose, the greater the commitment.
Peter tells us that God’s purpose with all His promises is to give us the opportunity to share in “his divine nature.” He wants us to become just like Him!
When God reached out to Abraham, He promised him an heir, countless descendants and the land to sustain them. That satisfied Abraham’s purpose in the deal. For God, “purpose” meant giving birth to a people (the nation of Israel) through whom He could demonstrate His love for humanity and His desire to reconnect with the family He had lost in the Garden of Eden.
The promise fulfilled great purpose for Abraham and God. It was a win-win for both.
God’s greatest hope for you, as His son or daughter, is that you grow up to become just like Him, sharing in His divine nature through His great and precious promises.
To that end, here’s just a glimpse of what we have to look forward to:
- The promise of Jesus’ presence (Matthew 28:20)
- The promise of God answering our prayers (Mark 11:22-25)
- The promise of Jesus’ return (John 14:1-3)
- The promise of the Holy Spirit and power (Acts 1:8)
- The promise of salvation (Romans 10:9)
- All promises are guaranteed by Jesus’ sacrifice (2 Corinthians 1:20)
- We are heir to all His promises (Galatians 3:26-29)
- The promise of angels ministering on our behalf (Hebrews 1:14)
- The promise of God’s presence (James 4:8)
- The promise of healing for the sick (James 5:14-15)
- The promise of eternal life (1 John 2:25).
God is a Promise Keeper (Joshua 21:45; 2 Peter 3:9)! And without a doubt, all His promises are yours to experience (2 Corinthians 1:20). All you have to do is to get in His Word and—find your promise, then find your purpose—just as Abraham did.
Ingredient No. 3: Promises Require Faith
“…I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have.” –2 Peter 1:1 (NLT)
A common business practice for generations has been to use a “promissory note” when committing to someone that you will give them something (usually money) on or by a certain date.
When God told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a son, it wasn’t His idea of a reveal party. He was establishing credit with Abraham and Sarah—even down to giving them a name and due date (Genesis 17:19-21). He was letting them know His promise was as good as gold. He was building their faith for future promises He would make.
Second Peter 1 teaches that “precious faith” is needed to make “exceeding great and precious promises” a reality. Hebrews 11:1 (AMPC) says it like this: “Faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality.”
If you own a car, a house or piece of property, you hold the “title deed.” It names you as the lawful owner.
Brother Copeland says God’s promises are like owning property. They’re not a reward for something we’ve done. They’re something Jesus purchased for us with His blood. As believers, then, it’s our right and responsibility to lay claim to their title deed and take possession of them.
So, God’s Word is His promissory note offering you His promises—and faith is what releases the power of His Word and connects you to the promises. Faith makes promises work.
Maybe you’re not so sure about your level of faith right now. No worries!
Jesus told His disciples, “Let the faith of God be in you!” (Mark 11:22, TPT). In Romans 12:3 (KJV), the Apostle Paul tells us that God has given each of us “the measure of faith.”
In other words, not only is God offering you “exceeding great and precious promises,” but He’s also supplying you with the faith you need to see those promises come to life!
Ingredient No. 4: Promises Require Willingness
“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.” –Isaiah 1:19 (NIV)
Years ago, Brother Copeland was praying about some financial challenges the ministry was facing, and he brought that promise of “eating good things” up to the Lord. When he did, he was shocked at what the Holy Spirit said to him:
Kenneth, you don’t qualify for that!
When he asked why, the Holy Spirit continued…
Ever since I told you to do daily television, you haven’t had anything good to say about it. You were obedient, but you were not willing.
As soon as Brother Copeland realized his error, he changed his attitude and got on board with the willingness part of God’s promise by looking past all the challenges of doing daily TV. Eventually, he began seeing the benefits of that promise by becoming willing and obedient.
Willingness has always been a key ingredient to God’s promises coming to pass. A monumental example was His rescue of Israel from 430 years of enslavement to Egypt.
Instead of possessing the Promised Land as God commanded, the Israelites were unwilling to take the land (Deuteronomy 1:26).
Descendants of those Israelites later gave their version of what happened (Nehemiah 9:13-17):
“You [God] gave them…decrees and commands that were good…. You commanded them to go and take possession of the land you had sworn to give them. But [they] were proud and stubborn, and…. they refused to obey.”
Barely out of the gate, Israel ran out of steam. They ran out of willingness and the promise became an epic failure.
Remember, God’s promises are a property to be possessed, but you cannot possess them without being willing to follow God’s conditions. Your willingness will make or break God’s promises.
Ingredient No. 5: Promises Require Patience
“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations.” –Romans 4:18
It’s one thing to get inspired and commit to the idea of a promise, especially when it comes to the benefits part. It’s another matter when it comes time to walk it out.
Like it or not, promises—the hope of something coming to pass—can take time. Sometimes, a lot of time. Just ask a couple engaged to be married, or a soon-to-be mom who is two weeks past her due date.
As for any of us, when time becomes an issue to be reckoned with, patience usually does, too.
No surprise, then, that patience is key to any promise working.
Hebrews 6:12 (KJV) encourages us to follow the Abrahams of life, who “through faith and patience” inherit God’s promises.
Bottom line: You have to be willing to give promises some time.
God once promised that a little town called Bethlehem would be the birthplace of a baby boy who would one day become Ruler and Shepherd to the entire world. Just 715 years later, His promise came true—and Jesus was born!
While that was probably the longest birth announcement on record, think of all the time God needed to orchestrate that one, simple promise…
There were Joseph and Mary’s families, angels, dreams, visions and prophecies, John the Baptist’s birth, all the disciples, the local and national religious and political leaders, the Magi in distant lands—even the sun, moon and stars. All of it!
It was definitely a promise requiring lots of time and patience.
When it comes to making or breaking promises, God is never at issue. You have His Word on that. What will always be an issue—as we’ve seen—are these five key ingredients that determine the fulfillment of a promise, any promise.
So, if for some reason you seem to come up short with any of God’s promises coming to pass in your life, go back and check your level of commitment, faith, willingness, purpose and patience.
Do like Brother Copeland did and ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight into what’s really going on.
Remember, not only does God offer you ALL His promises, but He freely supplies the commitment, faith, willingness, purpose and patience needed to keep every promise at work in your life! He’s a true Promise Keeper!
As always, if you need agreement in prayer, please call our prayer ministers at 1-877-480-3388 or submit a prayer request. We’re here for you!
Read last months blog post “How the Truth Sets You Free!”