Tr-Remembering God's Promises

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Rediscovering the Voice of God Adapted from Discovering the Good Life by Tim Savage By Tim Savage In our world there are thousands of weary souls and troubled hearts, people yearning for satisfaction in life but finding mostly disappointment. But it doesn't have to be that way. Jesus Christ promised life and promised it in abundance. Moreover, he has done everything in his matchless power to fulfill the promise. On the cross, Jesus purged the power of what ruins life�sin. On the cross, he paid the penalty of what ends life�death. In the resurrection, he opened the door to a new way to be human�fullness of life. In the combined work of the cross and the resurrection, he purified hearts and fitted them to be vessels of his life. It is a life overbrimming with love, power, truth, peace, goodness, righteousness, comfort, and joy. Not all Christians know this abundance of life, and perhaps many reading these words feel less than completely full. The problem boils down to this: you are probably unaware of your identity in Christ. You do not understand who you are in Christ. Every day you receive a steady stream of verbal input. Some of it begins in your imagination�as interior dialogues of the mind�and some of it begins in the world�as the external messages of society. Too often it is burdensome input, focusing on life's problems and whispering negative messages such as "You're going to fail," "You'll never be attractive," "You ought to be more successful by now," "You'll never escape the past," "You're destined to be alone," "You'll never amount to anything," "Your goals are beyond reach," "You'll never find happiness." "You lost your job," "You're divorced," "You filed for bankruptcy," "You're hopeless." "Shame on you!" "You're not good enough!" It is vital to discern the voices. Those stoking discouragement, fear, and guilt can be dismissed, because they do not fit the vocabulary of God. They do not originate from him. To whom, then, do we owe dispiriting messages? The apostle Paul tells us. "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12). The voice of discouragement belongs to the voice of "this present darkness," hence to the devil. And the goal of Satan is to derail us, to slay us with negativity. He "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). As Christians, we must distinguish the voices. If they condemn us, they are not from God. "There is . . . no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). For fullness of life, we must attune ourselves to the promises of God. For instance, God promises that "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5; see Josh. 1:5). We need not listen to the voice of loneliness, even when we feel desolate and deserted. God promises that he will make us "more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37). We must not listen to the voice of insecurity, even amidst stinging failure. God promises that "all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28). We must not listen to the voice of despair, even when facing difficult trials. God promises that we can "rejoice always" (1 Thess. 5:16; see Phil. 4:4). We need not listen to the voice of sorrow. God promises "peace I leave with you" (John 14:27). We must not listen to the voice of doubt, apprehension, and vulnerability. God promises that he has already "seated us with him in the heavenly places" (Eph. 2:6). We need not listen to the voice of anxiety and the possibility of future losses. God promises that he will "graciously give us all things" (Rom. 8:32; see Matt. 6:33). We need not listen to the voice of want.