In the education and business worlds it is not uncommon to hear the term affirmative action, but what does it mean in our everyday life to affirm someone? Basically, it is a statement or action that encourages someone. The Bible is filled with promises that affirm an endless supply of riches, privileges, joys, and blessings that we’ve never appropriated. These are the promises in the Bible we haven’t claimed. There are levels of peace we’ve not experienced. There are joys we’ve underappreciated. There are answers to prayer awaiting us.
Scripture is filled with affirmations about all God has given us. For an interesting Bible study, read the first half of Ephesians and notice how the words inheritance and riches and wealth and blessing fill the first three chapters of this book: [He] has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ … the riches of His grace … we have obtained an inheritance … the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints … rich in mercy … the exceeding riches of His grace … the gift of God … the unsearchable riches of Christ … the riches of His glory (Ephesians 1:3, 7, 11, 18; 2:4, 7, 8; 3:8, 16).
In Christ we’ve inherited a fortune beyond anything this world can imagine, but perhaps we’re largely unaware of it.
Every Promise Finds Its Affirmation in Him
The apostle Paul had an interesting way of putting it. His ministry had fallen under criticism among the Corinthians, and some of his skeptics accused him of reneging on a purported promise to visit them. Paul told them, in essence, “We try to honor our ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ But when it comes to God, He unfailingly keeps His every promise with a resounding ‘Yes.’” The actual wording is: “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Our Heavenly Father is always faithful to His promises, and He always says “Yes!” to His Word. That doesn’t mean He always says “Yes” to each of our requests, desires, wants, or demands. Yes, He sometimes says “No.” Yes, He sometimes withholds a blessing. Yes, He sometimes allows a trial. But yes, all these things work together for the good of those who love Him. And think of His other alls. Yes, He works all things according to the counsel of His will. Yes, all needed things are given to those who seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Yes, we can cast all our cares on Him. Yes, goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives. Yes, as we trust Him with all our hearts, He will direct all our paths. Yes, if He “did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32, emphasis added) He gives us all things to enjoy, and that’s why we can count it all joy.
All Christians Find Their Preapproval in Him
God’s yeses and alls are everywhere in the Bible, and with Christ as our Savior we’re preapproved in Him to appropriate them by faith, and that leads to rejoicing.
If you examine Scripture closely, you’ll find dozens of these affirmations to explore and enjoy. Here’s a sampling.
With these verses in your Bible and these yeses in the billfold of your faith, you needn’t ask permission to live abundantly; you have it. When we more fully realize our riches in Christ, we will think and live and act differently. Exercise affirmative action and see how many yeses God has promised you in His Word.
David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and serves as
Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
At the beginning of the multiple-Oscar-winning movie Gladiator, the Roman general Maximus is readying his cavalry to ride against a Germanic horde in a forest in Europe. He shouts to them, “Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you’re already dead!”
Elysium was a version of heaven that arose among the Greek poets and philosophers and remained popular in Roman times—a place where the righteous and heroic, and those chosen by the gods, would spend a blessed afterlife. If anyone would qualify for entrance into Elysium, Maximus’ brave cavalry would—so they had no fear in the face of possible death. As mythical as Elysium was, its promise was enough to take the fear and sting out of death. When you can laugh at death, nothing else in life deserves to be feared. Hebrews 2:15 tells us that one thing is powerful enough to hold people in bondage all their lives—the fear of death. But the apostle Paul spent an entire chapter of 1 Corinthians explaining how Christ, by His resurrection, defeated death: “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55) If Roman soldiers had no fear of death by hoping in a make-believe place called Elysium, how much more should we Christians not fear death based on the documented reality of the resurrection of Jesus? And if we don’t fear death, why should we fear anything else?Divine Resident – the Holy Spirit
When you think of home, what comes to mind? The types of homes available for people living in the United States today varies greatly from the “Leave it to Beaver” model seen on television so many years ago. Many of us grew up in neighborhoods where all the homes were similar in style and size. Move forward to today and homes are built in extremes—everything from massive homes with home theatre systems and gyms—to the tiny home craze where people are down-sizing to enjoy life more. Wherever we live, home has a special place in our heart and memory. But beyond where we call home, there is divine resident who goes and dwells with us a child of God. Here are seven ways that His presence changes us:Step Into the Encouragement Zone
During the past few months our nation has witnessed devastating natural disasters that demolished entire communities and took the lives and livelihoods of many Americans. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have negatively impacted millions[i] of people and left behind billions of dollars in damages. As difficult and challenging as these events have been, and will continue to be for multitudes of people, these catastrophic events have allowed our nation to come together to help those affected. In response to Hurricane Harvey alone, companies have promised to donate more than $65 million to help with relief efforts—and that number is still rising. This is not including all private donations and time spent volunteering by people across the United States.[ii] It has encouraged the nation as we have observed neighbor helping neighbor—but we need to remember that we shouldn’t simply be observers when it comes to encouragement.
Practical and purposeful encouragement is something each of us can do, but too often we miss the opportunity in the busyness of our lives. I’ll confess I’m not a natural-born encourager. Often I’m so focused on my day that I don’t notice when others have a need. But I’m learning to be deliberate about it—even when it’s not convenient.
Even when everything seems to be spinning out of control, you can rest assured: God is still in control. Dr. David Jeremiah takes a closer look at why God often allows His children to endure hardship instead of rescuing them from it.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah