Christian Counseling - Polishing God's Promises

"God is on display to the world, salvation of souls is at stake and I can help save some by making Him more attractive through polishing up His promises." What Christian would espouse such a belief? But I have no doubt there are some. There are others who verbally deny this way of thinking, yet act in a contradictory way.

A few weeks ago, while driving to work, I heard this statement made by a pastor on a local Christian radio station: "I guarantee you if you live rightly with God you will have His protection." All of us have heard similar promises about blessings of all kinds, if we just do what is right. Generally there is some truth in this statement. But as a blanket promise it cannot be found in scripture. Some promises are a compilation of verses that are consciously or unconsciously distorted for the purposes of the interpreter. Why do some think they need to embellish the work and Person of God? Are these people trying to capitalize on bringing more people to God because they enhance His image? God isn't appealing enough on His own merits? Embellishment is a lie of a different color, and there are significant consequences for those who believe such false promises.

Perhaps as you, I was given many polished promises in my early and middle years as a Christian, and I believed them because they sounded so nice and comforting and offered me a sense of security and love. They came from good people. The ideas sounded so wonderful they had to come from God. But shockingly, the heartache overtook me when I allowed myself to face the truth that a number of my beliefs didn't match the reality of my experience or my understanding of the Bible, like what the pastor said on the radio. In truth, there is no guaranteed safety in this world. Consider God's proclaiming Job to be a righteous man, but who greatly suffered, physically and emotionally. Jesus, who was without sin, paid the ultimate price of an extremely painful death, as have other good people who have been martyred. The only promise God makes about our safety is in regard to our salvation, which is fulfilled in the next life, not this one.

I have encountered many clients who needlessly suffered from serious disappointment, anger and doubt when God didn't turn out to be the God presented by others. I have sadly witnessed those who completely abandoned their faith after such a spiritual crisis. Polishing God's promises has far reaching negative consequences for the holders of false, but seemingly wonderful, romantic and soothing beliefs.

Can you identify with any of these polished promises? God will bless and is only happy and pleased when people:

 - stop attending to themselves and give to others
 - never wound another person
 - always forgive everyone, no matter what
 - have need of only faith in Him and the Bible for healing one's wounds
 - realize they don't need anything or anyone but God
 - believe that nothing happens outside of God's will, as He is always in control of everything.
 - consider the past is past, forget about it and move on.

I have no doubt you can create your own list. Care to share one or two of them with others on this blog?

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