Last week I shared a blog listing 9 of the things that God has promised to us, as seen in the Bible. This is super important for helping us to understand the God that we are praying for, as well as knowing what have or have not been promised to us. This week, I am sharing the opposite: 8 things that God has not promised to us. I think this is such an important discussion to have, so that we do not become entitled, angry at God, mistakenly believing that we “deserve” something from him, or expecting him to fix a problem that he never promised to fix.
Now, this list is not exhaustive, but neither does it mean that God can’t or won’t do these things. God’s love knows no bounds, and everything that he gives to us is a blessing. He can do anything, and he may well bless you with any of these things, in fact he frequently does, but we cannot expect him to; we cannot rely on him doing so; our faith should not be rooted in whether or not he gives us these things, but upon who he is alone.
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.Mark 10:25
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.Matthew 6:24
This is an important one because there are so many people preaching the prosperity gospel (top tip: stay far away from Joel Osteen). Nowhere in the Bible, are we promised wealth; in fact, the Bible warns us against money and wealth. Jesus calls us to give away what we have, and recognises that this is so much harder for those who have a lot to begin with. The prosperity gospel teaches that when we pray, serve God, do good things, give to the church etc. we will be rewarded with wealth. But this is certainly not promised anywhere in the Bible.
A Perfect Community
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of GodRomans 3:23
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.Matthew 18:20
This is definitely something I am guilty of believing. We see other people within wonderful Christian communities, supporting each other, eating together, praying together, just generally doing life together – and we assume that this is what God has instore for us. I think this comes from a good place, we want to be a part of a community like this, we want to support other people and walk alongside them. But God doesn’t promise us a perfect community. He warns us, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, this should tell us straight away that perfect community isn’t even possible. We are all sinners, but despite that, God tells us that when 2 or 3 of us – any of us – gather together in God’s name, he will be with us!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”Isaiah 55:8-9
There is so much about God that we will never understand, and we’re not meant to because his ways are different, and far greater, than our ways. We do not need to know God’s plan for our lives, we don’t need to understand everything about God, we just need to be obedient to where he does lead us.
To only give us what we handle
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.1 Corinthians 10:13
If you’ve been in Christian circles for more than 10 minutes, you’ve probably heard someone say that God only gives us what we can handle. It comes from this verse, in 1 Corinthians. But it’s not quite as simple as people make it out to be. You see, the problem is that saying that God only gives us what we can handle, suggests that we can handle anything we face by ourselves. And that simply isn’t true – when we are tempted, we need the holy Spirit to help us. In many situations, we need to lean on God, because we cannot do it by ourselves.
Healing from our human sufferings
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.2 Corinthians 4:17
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted2 Timothy 3:12
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love himJames 1:12
I think the fact that we know that God can heal, and we see in the Bible many of Jesus’ miraculous healings, can quickly lead to us expecting God to heal us – thinking that: “well, why wouldn’t he?”. But in fact, no where in the Bible does God promise healing to us in this lifetime. We are promised suffering and persecution, but we are told that these are light and momentary in contrast to the eternal glory they are achieving for us. Our suffering has a purpose, something that we may not understand in this life. We are promised an end to all our suffering – but not necessarily in this lifetime.
A spouse & children
While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”Job 1:18-19
We would all love to think that we are guaranteed a husband and children, but that simply isn’t true. God does not call every one of us to get married; and he does not bless all of us with children. It’s a painful truth, but the book of Job demonstrates clearly how God gives and takes away. We should not place our identity in our marriage or our parenthood, this is not our main calling.
Your dream job
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human mastersColossians 3:23
God has a plan for each of our lives, but he does not promise that it will be a plan full of success, promotions and pay rises. His understanding is far greater than ours and he knows what is best for us far more than we could even imagine. We should him with our lives, working hard at all we do for his glory, rather than running after success and promotions.
The gift of tongues/prophecy/other specific gifts
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;Romans 12:4-7
I have heard so many people say that we all have the gift of prophecy, or that we all have the gift of tongues. Now, I believe that God is very capable of allowing all of us to use these gifts, however I don’t believe that he has given all of us the same gifts. The Bible teaches that we are all part of one body, but with different functions and different gifts to help us achieve those functions. It therefore doesn’t make any sense for us to all have the same gifts!
What other things have you heard people say that God has promised?