The truth is, God is not anxiously waiting for us to claim his promises or try with all our might to believe they are true. They will come to pass because God said them. There is no need to name them and say they are ours for they already are—in and through the Word made flesh. So learn them, memorize them, and post them around the house, marveling at the grace of our God whose powerful word always comes to pass.
Most believers have a favorite promise in Scripture that they have memorized and cling to during hard times–often even more than one. Personally. I have always been partial to Isaiah 40, in which we read, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (v. 10). I remind myself, on a regular basis, of this biblical promise as well: “…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
The promises that God gives us are almost too numerous to count. He promises to provide our needs (Philippians 4:19), forgive our sins (1 John 1:9), produce fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), grant eternal life in Christ (John 11:25-26), and to be with us always (Matthew 28:20). Some Christians look at such promises and say that we must claim them in order for them to be true for us. We must believe them with all our heart and they will come to pass. As though we can click our heels three times, squeeze our eyes shut, and recite a verse over and over and the next thing we know, God’s promises are delivered into our hands.
God’s promises are not true because we believe in them. They don’t come to pass because our faith is great. God’s promises will come to pass simply because God said them.
The Power of God’s Word
When God speaks, things happen. At the beginning of the world, God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). He merely spoke and light entered the world. When Jesus was on the boat with the disciples and a ferocious storm rose up, Mark tells us, “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (4:39). There was chaos and then there was calm—an immediate response to the powerful word of God. We cannot speak and make anything happen. If we want light, we have to turn on a switch or a flashlight. If there’s a storm outside, we have to take shelter and wait for it to pass. Only God can speak and cause the creation to respond at just the sound of his voice.