|photo adapted from bricks photo courtesy of pixabay.com|
Not the lesson about how I am called to love regardless of what others do. I have learned that one. Not the lesson about forgiveness. I have learned that one. Nor about mercy and grace and taking responsibility for my own sins and repentance rather than spending the rest of my life pointing fingers. I have learned that one as well. Some of the hardest lessons I have ever learned. Lessons that have left a stream of opportunities to practice them in their wake. But no, not those lessons, as utterly vital as they all are. This one. The lesson about promises. The lesson about the promise breaker. And the promise keeper. The greatest lesson of all, I believe, when it comes to promises. The lesson of the promise keeper and the promise breaker.
The real reason I was so devastated about all the promises he had broken, I would come to find, was not that he had broken all his promises to me. It was that I had placed my heart and life and trust in the hands of a man instead of in the hands of the Lord. And I had set my affection – my heart and my mind – on the things of this world instead of on the things of the Lord above. I had placed my expectation in a man instead of God.
I had set my hopes on human, earthly, fleshly promises instead of the promises of God. I had groped, and yearned, and pleaded, and groveled, and begged, and implored, and cried, and cleaved and clung to the promises of a man – and to the man himself – rather than to the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. I had set myself up for devastation right from the start. Because I had turned a creature – a mere mortal, a mere man – into my god instead of allowing the Creator to stand where He belongs. As God. As Lord. As King. Who reigned in my heart? Not God. But a man. Whose promises did I desire and did I seek? A man’s promises. And the man himself.
I had placed my trust in a man to make promises to me and to keep his promises to me. And all humans fall short of God’s glory. All. Perhaps some create more havoc than others. I can attest to that by looking at my own life and sins. But the bottom line is that God doesn’t want for our treasures to be on earth. He wants our treasures to be in heaven. With Him. In Him. In Christ. Through Christ. But alas, I had made myself an idol of a man and sought him for what I desired to fulfill the lusts of my flesh. And I had wanted and expected him to keep his promises so that I would be satisfied. The result was plain and simple.
The idol I had created in my heart and life, the man I worshiped instead of God, he broke the promises. The one I had desired to be my promise keeper turned out to be my promise breaker. And the one who broke in the process was not just myself. It was the man also because I devastated him with my brokenness – with my own sin. With my criticism and judgement and condemnation and manipulation and pride and control and horrific heart and mouth full of wickedness, with my vengeance, with my gossip and bad mouthing, with my lack of love, with my lack of respect, with my lack of godliness and submission, with my everything but what I should have been and done. I could not, and I would not, love him with the love of Jesus Christ. My heart was too full of evil. My life was too full of my sin. I would ultimately wreak havoc on my promise breaker for one single reason.
In my pride, I could not see nor confess nor repent of the fact that I had turned the man into an idol and turned my God into less than God. Only years later would I discover, after God had taken the hardness off my heart, transformed my life beyond imagination through the renewing of my mind by the Bible and the application of the Bible to my life, that there is only one true promise keeper. There is only one who keeps His promises perfectly. There is only one who promises us what we truly need. That promise keeper is God. That promise keeper is Lord. That promise keeper is King.
Today I am learning day by day to look to the Lord – for His promises are true. He is my promise keeper. And when I fall, which I so often do, and find once again that I have placed my trust in someone or something other than Him, then I know to repent. I must. For I must return to the source of the greatest promise that ever was, and is, and ever will be. The Lord Himself. He, the Lord, is faithful to His promises. And His Word, the Bible, is full from beginning to end with His promises.
And His greatest promise of all is that He loves the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins that if we would repent of our sins and place our faith in Christ that we would be given eternal life (John 3:16). But this is a mere beginning. For Christ calls us not to merely believe in Him – but to follow Him. Our lives should show the fruit of our salvation and repentance as we study the Bible and learn to live what God commands us in His Word. And, as we walk along this highway of God’s will for our lives, we come to discover promise after promise after promise. Not false promises and false hope. But true promises. The promises of God. For God alone is the truest, the most sincere, the most wonderful promise keeper that ever was, or is, and ever will be.
Exo_20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Jer_25:6 And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.
Col_3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
“…who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.:” Romans 1:25
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” Matthew 6:19-20