A promise from God is not a magic coin for us to cash in at will. It is an invitation to a process. And whether that promise is concerning our inheritance or is in simple response to our petitions, God gives it to us because He is good and He loves us. It is His nature to give. When we embrace His promises, we say yes to a process that prepares us for the answer. Some promises reach maturity rather quickly. In those moments, it usually only requires us to say yes to God and express a confidence that what God has said will come to pass. And quickly it does.
But other promises are much bigger—bigger in the sense that they require more from the person on the receiving end. They require that we offer God a bigger container of character, one that is refined and developed so that the answer will not be lost through immaturity. For only with character can blessing be managed well. Gifts are free, but maturity is expensive.
Larry Randolph told us a number of years ago, “While God will fulfill all of His promises, He is not obligated to fulfill our potential.” Much of what we need in life will be brought to us. But much of what we want we will have to go get. Much has been made available to us through God’s covenant. But it is not automatic. Learning to be hungry and dream, followed by confident pursuit, is one of the most important parts of this Christian life.
While all of God’s promises are given to bless people and bring glory to God, some will actually do damage to the people they’re released to if those people are not properly prepared. If we think people get messed up after abusing natural wealth, multiply the dangers by a thousand to see the potential damage of abusing spiritual wealth. But then, so are the benefits exponentially greater when we correctly steward the spiritual.
We are a people with promise written in our DNA. Hungering for more is natural and is a sign of life. We have to experience a lot of disappointment or sit under bad teaching to be removed from the continual expectation of good happening throughout our walk with Christ. Misunderstanding the process of development causes many to either mistrust God or, at minimum, mistrust their ability to come into all that God has promised.
But learning to pursue more is a huge part of the Christian life. It is the Promised Land of old, the city whose builder and maker is God.
It is what the prophets spoke about, what Jesus actualized, what the apostles tasted of and laid down their lives for. It is this glorious