Promises, Promises

Remember the promises that you used to make with your friends back in elementary school?

The pinky promises?
The cross-my-heart promises?
The promises that were often followed by a whispered secret?

When I think back over all the promises I’ve made in my life, I can’t say with confidence that I’ve kept all of them. I’ve failed friends. I haven’t followed through with things that I said I was going to do. I’ve probably passed along a few too many secrets (even after I confidently pinky promised that I would never tell.) I’ve not always held up my end of the bargain.

As we grow older and into adulthood, I think we (hopefully) gain a firmer grasp on the importance of promises. We realize their value and significance and the trust that goes along with giving someone your word…and accepting theirs in return. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:37:

“Simply let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no,’ ‘no’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

We are told to be people who do what we say we are going to do.

The faithful Webster’s dictionary defines a promise as “a statement telling someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future.” In a perfect world, a promise is a beautiful thing. But because we are sinful, finite people, we realize broken promises are a reality and they cause pain. Even our best intentions sometimes end in our failure to follow through. I speak for myself, but I think we can all attest to the fact that broken promises leave us – and others – bruised.

Several years ago after going through a particularly difficult time in my life, I needed reassurance that promises can be kept – that there were at least some guarantees in life. I needed encouragement that life was not just filled with a load of broken promises.

I confidently KNEW the hope I had in Christ, but I struggled to FEEL that He would always come through for me. As sad as it was, I was substituting my broken perception of the world in place of His perfect and complete love for me. Whether it was conscious or not, I was assuming that if no one (including myself) could confidently, without fail keep their promise, then God wouldn’t either. (How wrong I was!)

One day as I was reading scripture, I came across a verse that I had previously read numerous times. But, as I read the words on this particular day, it gripped my heart like never before (don’t you love when the Holy Spirit does that?).

Numbers 23:19 says these words about the unchanging character of God:

“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?”

Those were the reassuring words I needed to hear. God will not lie – He will always keep his promise.

Later I read:

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “yes” in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

Even more assurance! Because of Christ, every promise that God has ever made is answered with a perfect YES.

That day I began a practice that has changed my walk with the Lord and brought me great confidence: I started a promise journal. Every time I find a promise in scripture, I mark it in my bible and write it down. As I read over these promises, I am assured over and over of God’s continuous love and care for me.

For example, when I’m needing direction or instruction in my life, I remember Psalm 32:8:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will counsel you and watch over you.”

Isaiah 42:16 tells us:

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

In Joshua 1:4, God gave Joshua the same promise that he gives us today:

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

You get the picture! There are literally thousands of these wonderful, life-giving promises found in the Word of God.

Some of them carry stipulations like Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

We trust and He makes our paths straight – that’s a promise!

Or John 8:12:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

If we follow Jesus, He promises we will have the light of life and never walk in darkness.

Or James 1:5:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

Do you want wisdom? Ask God. He promises that if you do, it will be given to you.

My challenge for you today is to search your bible for these wonderful assurances from God. As you come across one – write it down. As a believer in Jesus Christ and a Child of God, you get the benefit of all of these promises! They cannot be broken by the Lord (because He does not lie!)

He provides all that we need, and we can rest assured with absolute and complete trust that he will always keep his word.

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4


About the Author


Hi, I’m Karen Taylor. I live in Jackson, Tennessee and for the past 11 years, I’ve had the incredible privilege of working in Student Life at Union University. I enjoy working with college students and teaching in women’s ministry at my church. In my free time, you would most likely find me reading, checking out local antique stores, traveling or hanging out (and laughing!) with friends. And, fair warning: I can’t be trusted in front of a bowl of chips and salsa. I love discovering all of the new things that God is teaching me. It is my desire to teach and encourage others in their walk with the Lord and to live out Proverbs 27:17: As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.