The Bible is packed with the promises of God. These promises are incredibly important for us because they help to keep us grounded and give us hope in troubled times. In fact, we should be building our lives upon God’s trustworthy promises.
Here are seven promises for those who choose to follow Jesus:
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it’” (Matthew 16:24-25, New International Version).
It seems like an incredible contradiction, but we will only find life when we quit pursuing it. When we stop chasing the things we believe will bring us life and instead, pursue the creator of life, we discover life as it was designed to be (John 10:10).
“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37, NIV).
Charles Spurgeon once called this one of his favorite verses. In this passage, we discover Christ’s assurance that he will not send those who come to him away. We see this acceptance peppered throughout his interactions in the Gospels. If we come to him, we will find him waiting with open arms. Christ’s invitation extends to everyone, and he accepts all those who follow him.
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-along with persecutions-and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Mark 10:29-31, NIV).
Following Jesus requires sacrifice. There are times when the immediate benefit of going our own way may appear to outweigh the potential gains of obedience. Jesus wants us to know that our sacrifices aren’t in vain and there’s nothing we can surrender that exceeds what’s attained in following him.
“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21, NIV).
When you get down to it, there’s an element of God’s truth that one can only understand from the inside. All the arguments and proofs for God’s existence pale in comparison to actually experiencing a relationship with God through Christ. Jesus promises us that, when we obey him, he will manifest himself to us.
5. Friendship with God
“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:14-15, NIV).
Jesus came to reconcile God to mankind. The surprise there isn’t just that a bridge would be built between God and humanity; it’s that we would enter this relationship as friends. Yet, this is is exactly what Jesus promises us. The Bible has a lot to say about friendship, and this is one of them.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:9-11, NIV).
We’re instructed to continually exist in God’s love, and he tells us that we can do that by keeping his commands. Our obedience keeps the relationship alive and active, allowing us to remain in his love. Why does he want to securely stay in this relationship? So our joy will remain full.
Jesus promises us that joy is a byproduct of remaining in God’s love.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12, NIV).
When you get down to it, following Jesus puts you at odds with the world. This persecution can vary in extremes. Some that belong to Jesus will lose friends, family, jobs, opportunities, maybe even their lives. This truth is partially why these other promises exist. It’s as if God is saying, “Following me will be a struggle, but here are the things I will promise those who persevere.”
Jesus says it this way: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:10-11).