Claiming promises that are not promises

How maturely do you use your favourite verses? Do you join with the crowd of immaturity or do you sit with the mature in your meditation and repetition of your favourite verses?

Take for example, Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

Philippians 4:13

The immature claim this as a promise. More often than not, it is repeated before a significant event. Yet, when the spiritually mature Paul penned those words, it was more of a testimony after the ups-and-downs of the ordinary course of his life. It surely had present implications for keeping his spirit steady through the circumstances he was experiencing, but one would be hard pressed to turn those word of Paul into a promise to claim; it is simply a testimony to an established and verified-by-his-own-experience truth about God. These verses were not penned by the mature to give the immature a promise to claim, but rather to mature the immature in their interpretation of their circumstances.

Or what about Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

Again, the immature thrive on claiming the promise of blessing, and this verse certain has a promising future element. But again, that is not why the LORD spoke these words, nor why Jeremiah repeated these words through prophecy. Jeremiah 29:11 is an affirmation that the God who was at that time judging His people severely, was still the same LORD Who turns evil into good and would most certainly restore them once the judgment was complete. The immature use this verse to lust after success, yet the mature Jeremiah spoke this words so the nation of Israel would not forget God’s goodness during the rather lengthy time of exile.

Many other verses can be added to the list of the immature who seek “a promise to claim” as their favourite verse. The mature might have the same list of verses, but for more honourable, more mature, more worshipful motives. What are your favourite verses? Does your love of those verses speak of spiritual maturity, or are you just joining the march of the immature

The mature use Scripture to testify about God; the immature use Scripture to make promises to themselves.

Claiming promises that are not promises
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