There is often a time gap between claiming a promise of God by faith and its fulfilment!
In our Bible verses today Paul uses the word confidence twice. The Greek word is tharrheo and is only found seven times in the New Testament, two of them in these four verses. Remarkably it can also be translated as to be bold, or even to exercise courage. Paul is literally saying, “I am confident, I am encouraged and I am bold.” The enemy of our faith trades in the opposite of these characteristics using discouragement and timidity to destroy our confidence in God. So often this happens after we claim one of God’s promises.
Jesus’ words about faith that moves mountains immediately follow an incident where he cursed an unfruitful fig tree. The next day the disciples found that the fig tree had withered up. It did not happen immediately! There was a gap between the word and its fulfilment. Two verses later Jesus says, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain… and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, and he will have whatever he says” [Mark 11:24] Again there is a gap between what was said in faith and when it actually happened.
This time between the speaking of faith, and the fulfilment of what you believe for is critical. That is when the enemy will attack. He will use the negative words of people to discourage you, cause you to doubt and try to destroy your confidence. The battle is in the thought-life. The writer to the Hebrews said,
“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” [Hebrews 10:36-37]. In that gap period the danger is that we do not endure, that is stand firm, but instead cast away our confidence.
Many years ago God spoke to John Wimber and told him to pray for the sick and believe for their healing. For 18 months they prayed for sick people and not one was healed. The temptation was to give up, to doubt and to lose confidence, but instead they pressed on until someone was healed. After that, healings became very regular in his ministry. It was so good that he did not give up, doubt or became discouraged. If you are trusting God for something guard your heart in the time between claiming the promise and experiencing its fulfilment.
How can you stand firm and not doubt and become discouraged if God has given you a promise and you still awaiting its fulfilment?
Why do you think it is that God doesn’t always give immediately what He has promised but allows our faith to be tested?
Why is patience such an important part of seeing God’s promises fulfilled?