“Do this to get your blessing!” “Follow These Simple Steps to Get Into God’s Promises!” Really? As we read the book of Job we quickly understand that there is no perfect recipe with God.
There are many promises in the Bible because God is rich and loves His children. Each promise is linked to some action because God wants to work with us towards success (1 Corinthians 3:9). He doesn’t just want to give us blessings, He wants to help us develop the skills necessary to retain those blessings. Our good Heavenly Father considers that our character is even more important than our comfort. Finally, God is not a liar, when He gives us a direction to follow towards the fulfillment of a promise, He does intend to guide us towards this fulfillment (Numbers 23:19). So why, at times, do we feel like we have done everything that God asks and we haven’t got what He promised?
Because there is no recipe with God. Job’s friends insisted: “You are in this torment because there is a sin in your life. Repent and you will be well”, they said. And Job was getting irritated when he told them that he hadn’t done anything wrong! But the friends were steadfast, they were convinced that they had completely understood how God works, that they knew the perfect recipe so as not to have any trouble: to follow all of the precepts of God. Then, from chapter 38, the Lord rises and calls everyone to order. No, we will never be able to say that we understand everything; we must remain in humility.
Think about it… if we had a perfect recipe for obtaining a blessing, it would be a form of manipulation. “God, I did everything you said, now you have to give me what I asked!” What insubordination to think so! Yes, the Creator instituted very simple and effective natural laws. When we sow a seed in the soil, we reap what we have sown. But again, there are all kinds of variables that come into play: watering, weeds, animals, the soil itself (Matthew 13), and many more. We of course have our part to do in keeping the promises, but we cannot control everything. We must not play the “good Christian” to try and manipulate God.
The biggest variable in the equation is time. God is eternal, so time for Him does not mean the same as it does for us. The Bible says that if we ask in faith, we will receive (1 John 4:14-15). So as soon as we ask in His will, the answer is automatically placed on the line of our life. We can declare with faith that we have received it, even if we do not see it. The answer is there, in our life we just have to keep walking in the right direction. Oh, many things can happen in the meantime, but God did not lie, the promise will certainly be fulfilled (Daniel 10:12, Habakkuk 2:3).
So let’s resist the temptation to want to manipulate God by using His Word (1 Corinthians 10:9). Recipes do not control God, they transform us, little by little. As we follow God’s precepts, we grow in maturity, we are at peace, we are joyful, and more. The result of the recipe is not the blessing, it is our transformation. And yes, a transformation generally makes us better able to receive and keep the blessings of God. We should therefore not follow God’s will only to obtain His promises, but follow Him because it is what God wants and because His will is good for us (Romans 12:2). It is not the blessings of God that we are to pursue, but the Presence of God (Matthew 6:33).
Have you received a promise from God regarding marriage? Thank you, Lord! Did you do everything God told you to do and still no marriage? Continue to serve Him with passion, and to make His Kingdom grow. Rejoice in all that you have learned while waiting; rejoice in the maturity that His precepts have developed in you. Do not be discouraged, God is not a liar. Don’t blame yourself either, it might not be your fault that you are single. Marriage is not the result of a perfect recipe. Keep walking in His ways, for it is in His presence that we truly find happiness.