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     Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Cor. 7:1

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Pet. 1:4

Dear heavenly Father, the “farther up and further in” I go into the gospel, the more you challenge and change the way I think about everything. It’s another clear and kind example of your commitment to complete the good work you’ve begun in your sons and daughters. At times this process is quite painful, but it’s always about more glory for you and more Christlikeness in us. I praise you for the perfection of your plan and the persistence of your heart.

Recently I’ve been thinking about your promises, so generously and copiously given in your Word. I now see, and grieve, how as a young follower of Jesus, I was pretty much trained to be computer programmer, and you were the computer. I acted as though you were passively waiting for me to tell you what to do. Your hands were bound by the reach of my petitions and the limitations of my faith. All I had to do was “claim the promises,” without negative thoughts or a wavering will, and you would spring to action.

I confess and repent of my cynicism, but you know how long this way sounded really good to me. Thankfully, I now see that your promises are primarily about changing us, not programming you. Through your promises, we increasingly share in your divine nature—that is, you’re making us more and more like Jesus. By your promises, we can escape the corruption in the world, not simply accumulate more of its treasures.

Father, every one of your promises direct our gaze away from us to Jesus, who is the ultimate “Yes!” to every promise you’ve made (2 Cor. 1:20). Oh, the difference the gospel makes in how we view everything. We don’t claim your promises—they claim us! If we’re going to “name and claim” anything, may it be to have greater passion for your glory, a quicker surrender to your sovereignty and a greater boasting in your grace.

May our “standing on your promises” lead to living under your authority and serving well in your kingdom until Jesus returns to finish making all things new. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ triumphant and transforming name.



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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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