2 Corinthians 1:20 | Matthew 21:22 | Psalm 37:4 | Numbers 23:19 

“So…is there a catch, or what?”

You may not be a Superchristian. You may not even want to be a Superchristian. But as a follower of Jesus, you need to know that God’s promises are for you.

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

(2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT)

And Christ himself told us:

“You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

(Matthew 21:22 NLT)

So that’s it…just pray for it, and you will get it. Because that’s what Jesus said, and God promised us a big ol’ “Yes,” right?

Not exactly.

The scripture is full of promises. And while it’s important to understand for whom God meant each promise, most are for everyone who believes–Superhero status or not. But there is a catch: God’s promises are often conditional.

For example, Psalm 37:4 says that God will give you your heart’s desires. “YES, PLEASE!” But that’s only half the story. Here is the whole promise:

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

(Psalm 37:4 NLT)

For the Lord to give you your heart’s desires, you’ve got to delight yourself in him. Basically, if you’re into how God works and who he is, your heart is lining up with his, and he’ll gladly give you what your heart desires. 

Think of a parent and a young child. The parent wants a healthy, thriving child. If the child wants a chainsaw, how well does that align with the parent’s wants? Do you think the child will get one?

On the other hand, what if the child wants a drum set? Many parents would say, “No way!” while others would give it a hearty thumbs up. Whether the child gets one would ultimately depend on the parent and, more specifically, how they think it would help or hinder their child’s development. 

God is your loving father and has promised great things to you. As you find these promises in his Word, remember: You don’t have to be a Superchristian to receive them. But look for conditions–your part in bringing on the blessing. Most of all, remember that God is true to his promises. He is always the same, and he never forgets.

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?

(Numbers 23:19 NLT)

Questions for Group Discussion

  • Do you ever wonder if God’s promises apply to you personally? Why, or why not?
  • Have you ever heard someone claim a promise from scripture when you were not sure it applied? Has anyone ever quoted scripture that you felt was taken beyond its context?
  • How can you be sure that a specific scriptural promise applies to you? Would it apply to you if you met the condition it included? Are there Biblical promises that are unconditional? Are there people to whom God’s promises do NOT apply?
  • How can you claim a promise? Is it as easy as believing the promise and meeting its conditions?

Application: Promises, Promises

This exercise is excerpted from the article “What Does the Bible Promise?” by Dr. Bill Bright As published on CBN.com

Here is a simple 4-step approach to understanding promises you find in scripture. 

  1. Read the scripture passage.
  2. Write your answer to these questions
    • What promise or command is in this verse? 
    • What lesson do I need to learn?
  3. Write down what you want to say to God as a result of what you discovered. Your response can be scripture that you say back to God, expressions of your own heart, or a combination of the two.
  4. Pray what you’ve written.
  5. As you receive revelation concerning this scripture, write it below your prayer.

By doing this, you can create a journal of God’s promises. You can refer to these pages when you need a reminder of God’s love, and a bolster for your faith.