Turn Your Life Verse Into an Affirmation

What is your life verse? 

You know, the one that every time you read it or think about it, it just speaks truth to you. If nothing comes to mind, ask God to give you one—a verse that He wants you to hold on to, to make it our own, during the good times and the bad.

I’ve had various verses that have spoken to me personally over the years. For at least 25 years, Proverbs 3:5-6 has been at the top of the list:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Long ago, It felt like God laid this passage on my heart, prompting me to hold it close because I would need it someday.

And, oh, how I’ve needed those words. I’ve had to remind myself over and over to trust God completely and not to rely on my own understanding or beliefs about the situation at hand.

Here lately, God has prompted me to keep in mind a different verse—Romans 8:28: 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose

This verse reminds me every day that no matter what challenges I face, it’s all working out for the best in my life. It may not seem like it now, but God has a plan and everything is falling into place.

In fact, lately when I’ve felt stressed or overwhelmed, I just yell out (to myself), “Romans 8:28, baby!” That simple reminder is enough to reset my emotions, help me remember that God is in control, and keep me from spiraling into an abyss of doom, gloom, and depression. 

One technique I’ve used a few times is to take several key passages of scripture that truly speak to me and write them down in a personalized way on either an index card or small piece of paper that I can look at each day.

For example, using the two passages in Proverbs and Romans, I might write the following affirmation:

Today I trust in the Lord with all my heart and will not rely on my own understanding. In all my ways I’m acknowledging Him, and He is making my paths straight. In everything God is working for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose.

Philippians 4:4 and 4:6-7 are other powerful passages about God’s goodness and peace that I have often meditated on when life’s challenges feel overwhelming. I could personalize them as well and add them to my daily affirmation.

So, when I’m finished, I have the following written out:

Today I trust in the Lord with all my heart and will not rely on my own understanding. In all my ways I’m acknowledging Him, and He is making my paths straight. In everything God is working for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose.

I will rejoice in the Lord today. I will not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I’ll let my requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Prov. 3:5-6, Rom. 8:28, Phil. 4:4, 6-7

These are some of the verses that have greatly helped me over the years. Maybe they’re special to you as well. Or maybe you need to search the Bible and find your own verses that resonate with your unique circumstances.

Once you’ve personalized and written out your affirmation, take a moment first thing in the morning to read it, out loud if possible. 

Read it again while you’re eating lunch, and refer to it anytime during the day that you feel stress, anxiety, or depression creeping up on you. 

Bedtime is another fantastic time to read your affirmation and set your mind on God as you drift off to sleep.

Let God’s word soak into your spirit and drive out all the negative feelings and emotions that are trying to take root in your mind. Focus on God and His promises.

You’ll feel more joyful and hopeful if you do.

God is Good All the Time

You may be like me in that you often struggle with doubting God. I hate to admit it, but far too often I don’t trust that God has my best interests in mind when things don’t go the way I think they should. 

In my heart, I know that I can and should trust God completely. After all, He created the universe, so He should be able to handle the affairs of my life, shouldn’t He?

Then why do I allow my lack of faith to bubble to the surface and keep me from experiencing all the peace of God that He wants for His children?

If you also struggle with a lack of faith, then I’ll tell you the same thing I tell myself: God is good all the time—all the time, God is good.

Try this. The next time you’re faced with a challenging situation and you’re tempted to question God and His motives, take a moment to reflect on a previous trial in your life. It may have been last week, or it could even be from decades ago in your childhood. 

Just make sure it’s a situation where you can clearly see God’s hand at work. Perhaps he worked out the situation supernaturally in a way you can’t explain. Or maybe it was something simple—just an affirmative answer to a prayer sent up to Heaven.

The point is to recognize God’s work in the situation. Think about and really appreciate how His touch worked out in your favor. Perhaps even thank God again for His help during this time, no matter how long ago it was.

Now, here’s the key. If you can truly see and appreciate God’s handiwork during this trial in your life, you realize He can be trusted. 

He’s got your back, as the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:28:

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

It doesn’t matter what kind of challenge you’re facing. We’re assured that when it’s all said and done, God is working it out for your benefit

Even if you’ve just lost your job, or a loved one has died, or your car has broken down on the side of the highway—something good will come out of this situation.

God, in His infinite wisdom and goodness knows what He’s doing. And as mere human beings, there’s no way we can possibly begin to understand His actions. Even though the situation may look like a total mess to us, it is completely under His control. 

In fact, in Ecclesiastes 8:17 we’re told that we can’t ever hope to have full understanding of God’s actions:

I observed all the work of God and concluded that a person is unable to discover the work that is done under the sun.

Also, in Isaiah 64:4 we read:

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

These are just two of the verses that tell us we will never comprehend the mysteries of God. Therefore, trust is the key. 

If God came through for us before, He can and will again. We shouldn’t worry or fret over the situation because God already has it worked out.

God exists outside of our human concept of time. While we can only live in the present—having already experienced the past and waiting for the future to happen—God is not limited in this way. He is in the past, present, and future all at one time. 

He knows exactly what is going to happen to us. To Him, it’s already settled. And while we can’t exist in the same nonlinear space that God does, we can surely trust Him that everything in our lives will work out for the best. 

Once again, if we can look back on our lives and recognize God’s activity during our times of crisis, we can rest solidly on the fact that He will do the same again. 

The outcome may not look like we’re expecting it to or think it should, but we can be certain that it’s all for the best.

God is loyal and He loves His children. Waiting patiently on Him is an exercise in faith. Our faith will actually grow during challenging times as we rest in our belief that God will work every situation out for our benefit. 

After all, God is more concerned about building our character than He is about our physical comfort. Certainly, he would much rather shape our attitudes about material things than give in to our request for more money, a newer car, or a bigger house.

That’s not to say He doesn’t want us to have those things, but if it comes down to either more income or a stronger Christian character, He is going to act in a way that builds our character.

That may not be what we want to happen, at least in the here and now, but in the end, we’ll be better off because of God’s plan.

So, when it’s all said and done, simply trust God. Trust Him that He loves us and that He wants only the best for us. He’s our loving Heavenly father. And what father doesn’t want the best for His kids? 

A toddler doesn’t understand his parents’ motives for telling him to stay away from a busy roadway, but avoiding the dangers of passing traffic is obviously for his benefit. 

The same holds true for us. Even though we don’t understand why things happen as they do in our lives, God does, and He’s firmly in control.

In that, we can be absolutely certain. Just as that toddler doesn’t have to worry about food and shelter, we don’t have to worry about our basic needs. God has everything under control. 

Remembering that God is good and that He’s working on our behalf will help us rest in peace no matter what we’re faced with.

It’s Easy to Be Mad at God

It’s easy to be mad at God. There are multiple opportunities every day to blame God and distance yourself from Him. 

I don’t know why life is this way. I suppose a theologian would say it’s because we live in a fallen world. It’s imperfect, so there are naturally going to be situations every day that we’re unhappy with.

And since God is omnipotent, He’s the one to blame for all our troubles, right?

That’s the trap so many of us fall into, myself included. 

Even though I know it’s wrong, I still often blame God for the little annoyances of life. Like when I went into a restaurant recently to pick up a carryout order and only grabbed one of the two bags I was supposed to get.

I thought to myself, Why couldn’t God have prompted me somehow that there was another bag I needed to pick up?

I mean, that’s a logical thought, isn’t it? He knew I was only picking up one of the bags. He could have whispered to me to double-check that I got everything, couldn’t He?

Certainly, He could have done that. But He didn’t. I don’t know why, other than that He was using the situation as a teaching tool of some sort. Perhaps He wanted me to learn something from the experience or to grow my faith. 

Maybe he was hoping that I would indeed have the thought that He could have prompted me about the second bag, but that I would then remember that it doesn’t matter because He is all good.

Alas, this isn’t what happened, because I found myself questioning Him and His ways.

But, at least I eventually did come to the conclusion that He is good, even though it took me a while. I’m a work in progress for sure.

What about you? Do you blame God when things don’t go exactly as you think they should? 

If you do, why not just go ahead and accept His goodness now, without waiting? Cut out all the steps in the middle and realize that He loves you and is looking out for you. 

I believe that’s what He’s hoping you’ll do.

The Christian’s Advantage

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

If you are a Christian, you have an advantage over non-believers. That’s right, the above verse says so. 

Christians are what this verse refers to as the called. So if we’ve chosen to follow Christ and we love God, we can rest in full assurance that everything that happens to us in our life is working out for the best. 

We don’t have to wonder if the future will work out, as we’ve been guaranteed that God Himself is at the helm of our lives, making sure things go exactly as He has planned.

Now, it may not always feel like things are working out for the best. We will have days when it seems that everything is going downhill. 

However, these are the times when our faith must kick in. We must have faith that God is still in control, no matter what the circumstances look like.

As James tells us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

Not only can we rest in faith, knowing that God is working everything out for the best, we can also count on the trials we face to cause our faith to grow. 

The next time we find ourselves in an unwanted situation, we’ll have that much more faith to stand firm during the trial.

The person who has never accepted Christ into their life does not have any of these assurances. 

When they face the trials of everyday life, they really have nothing to fall back on.

As Christians, we have the assurance that God is on our side—every day, all the time.

Does this make you want to share the gospel with someone you know?

Wait For God’s Timing

Has God ever come through for you? 

Has there ever been a situation in your life when you needed Him to do something that only He could do—so you prayed and God did exactly what you asked him for?

If so, then you know from this past experience that He cares for you and hears your prayers.

It was a faith-building experience. Through it, you gained just a little more faith that God is good and does only good things. 

Now you have that much more faith to carry you through the rough times. If God came through for you once, then He’ll do it again.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that the next time God shows up, it may not be in exactly the way you think He should. 

God has a particular way of doing things. It’s His way, and that may or may not line up with what you have pictured. 

You probably have an answer all laid out in your mind about your situation. You know how it should work out. Or, at least you think you do.

God may have a whole different idea about it, and you have to be flexible and patient. 

When it comes to waiting on God and His timing, patience is important. He usually doesn’t work in the same timeframe we do. 

We want an answer yesterday when we’re faced with a problem. God’s timing may not give you an answer for quite some time. 

And when He does answer, it may look totally different from what you expect.

But one thing is for certain—it will work out for the best. We’re assured of that in Romans 8:28.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

We just have to wait on God to do His thing. And we must remain prayerful during this time, because we don’t want to miss anything He may be telling us about His plan. 

If there’s something we need to do, He’ll let us know. That’s why we need to stay connected to Him in the meantime. We have to keep the lines of communication open so we can hear Him.

He wants to come through for us—never forget that. But we need to wait patiently in faith for Him and His timing.

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 11:6

Faith and patience are the keys. 

He WILL come through, because He said He would in the verse from Romans. 

Just don’t get ahead of God and try to work things out on your own. Doing this can often make a tough situation even worse.

Wait on God and you’ll eventually see what He has in store for you.

You’ll be glad you did.

Yoke Yourself to Jesus Every Day

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

Matt. 11:29

A while back, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in southern California, put out a podcast on which he advised his listeners to yoke themselves to Jesus. 

The point of the podcast was simple—to explain what it means to yoke ourselves (it’s not what you think) and to encourage us to do so on a daily basis.

In a nutshell, to yoke ourselves to Jesus means to attach ourselves to him to lighten our load through this life. 

Just as James tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2), we can be assured that we will have challenges and struggles in this life.

So, what better way to get through life than by partnering with Jesus?

These words have the power to bring comfort, healing, and peace to even the most troubled soul, of which I am often one.

The reason is because of what a yoke does. Rather than strapping us with more burden— what many people believe—a yoke is designed to lighten the load. Back in biblical times, a farmer would yoke two oxen together to make it easier for each ox to pull the load behind them. 

The yoke evenly distributed the burden of the load between the two oxen, making their work easier and even allowing them to get more work done. The yoke was actually a welcome relief for the animals, and they were able to accomplish more than each one could on its own.

This is how we should look at the command found in Matthew 11:29. The yoke is not meant to put more burden on us, but rather to lighten the load we’re already carrying. 

Jesus is telling us to partner with him, leaning on him daily for renewed strength to make it through the challenges of our often hectic and demanding days. 

No one on this earth is without some sort of burden. However, by allowing Jesus to share our burdens, these burdens will seem lighter and easier to handle.

After all, we’re also told in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

God loves us and wants the best for each of his children. 

It took me a long time to really understand and accept this truth for myself, but I think I’m finally able to do that, at least to some degree. I still have room to grow in this area, but it’s such a welcome relief knowing that God loves me and wants to make my journey through life easier by yoking me with Jesus.

And He wants to do the same for you, friend.

I’m No Surfer But I Kind of Wish I Were

I’m no surfer. However, I imagine that surfing is at least somewhat like how I’ve tried to live my life.

I’ve imagined what it would feel like to surf. It would be quite the adrenaline rush to look up and see a huge wave rolling in, one that you could ride on and feel like the king of the world. 

While you’re balancing on your board high up on the wave, you could probably see for miles around. Would you even have the forethought or ability to take a look toward the horizon? Or would you be so focused on staying on the wave that nothing else could get your attention?

For that few seconds of glory, life would feel magnificent, like you’re on top of the world and nothing can bring you down. I’d imagine it would be the same sort of exhilarating feeling that skydiving would produce.

You wouldn’t want those few seconds to end. However, you know in the back of your mind that it will all come to an end shortly. You’ll come down off the wave and back to the plane of earth and menial human existence.

As a surfer, you would live for those few seconds…

And that’s how I’ve wanted to live my life. I’ve believed wrongly that life should be about those few seconds riding the wave. And if it isn’t, something is wrong. 

Because, there surely are people who continuously ride that wave. Their lives are wonderful and each day is a new adventure. There are no doldrums in their lives. No major problems. Nothing to pull them down. Just pure bliss and joy. Surely those people exist, right? I’m being sarcastic, of course.

If you don’t have that peace and bliss, what’s the point of living? That’s the question I’ve asked myself when I’ve been at my lowest points. Those are times that I’ve believed life should be about the perfect, the great. That there should never be hard times or difficult circumstances. Life should be lived on that wave.

Alas, I know that’s not the way life works. 

The problem, however, is that I can’t get myself to fully believe that I can’t shortcut the system. That I can forge a new path, one full of happiness and contentment. That if I had enough time and enough money that all would be good. No, all would be great. Part of me just simply refuses to buy into that and I’m not sure why.

I know the Bible even tells us that we will have troubles. It goes so far as to instruct us to “count it all joy” when you encounter various trials. I’m not sure how to do that. I’m not sure I want to do that. It would be somehow like admitting that I’m OK with that kind of life. And I’m really not.

I don’t like it that life is difficult and challenging much of the time. Deep down,  I don’t think it should be that way. In my head, I’ve accepted that life is hard, but in my heart I long for a perfect, easy life—the cruise control life as I’ve called it.

Shrink Wrap

Ronnie nervously slid onto the therapist’s couch.  No matter how many times he came here he never quite got used to it.  The room’s darkness and odd, musty smell always reminded him of his grandparents’ cellar when he was a boy.  It was almost comforting in a way, taking him back across the years to gentler, less anxious times.

After a couple of minutes of compulsory small talk, Dr. Melling changed tones.  “Well, Ronnie, what has been on your mind?  What would you like to talk about today?

Ronnie fidgeted nervously.  “Well, God I guess.  I mean, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how I view God, about how I see myself in relation to Him.  That’s been on my mind a lot the last few days.”

“God.  I see.  Tell me more about what you’ve been tossing around in your mind then.”

“Well, I don’t really know how to begin – seems like I never do.”  Clasping his hands behind his head and relaxing a bit, Ronnie continues.  “These anger issues that I’ve been dealing with all these years – it seems like lately they’ve been getting worse.  We talked about all that last time I think.  Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out what it is that triggers these outbursts that I seem to have no control over.  It seems like the least little thing sends me off – somebody cuts me off in traffic, I spill something on my shirt or bump my knee on my desk.  I may not consciously realize it at the time, but the first thought that goes through my mind when something like that happens is, There goes God.  He did this.  He’s testing me again.  It’s like, when something goes wrong in my life, I automatically attribute that to God.”

Sensing a pause in Ronnie’s thoughts, Dr. Melling interrupted.  “So what you believe is happening is that either consciously or subconsciously you blame God anytime an event happens to you that you feel is bad or negative.”

“Yes, I guess that’s the best way to put it.  I don’t know why I believe this and  I certainly don’t know why God would be testing me in this way.  It’s hard for me to wrap my head around this.  What I’m saying is, on the most superficial level reason tells me that it is God testing me.  It may be that He has some ideal in mind of what I’m supposed to be and through these “trials”, or whatever they are, He is trying to mold me into that.  I’ve always heard that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

Stroking his chin thoughtfully, Dr. Melling repeated, “More interested in your character than your comfort. Interesting.  Go on.”

“Like I said, when something negative happens to me, sometimes I’ll just lose it.  Snap. Like that.  It feels like I have all this frustration and rage boiling just beneath the surface.  I do pretty well to keep it in check most of the time.  I can smile and go along with a lot of things.  But when I feel like there’s been one more injustice forced on me, I snap.  In the back of my mind it’s like I’m telling God through my anger that I’ve had it with His games – that I hate them, I’m sick of them, and I’m going to yell and curse to show Him how much I mean it.  I know it’s wrong to lash out like that, but I’ll admit, it gives me a feeling of being in control.  Sometimes I don’t feel very much control in my life.  Maybe I’m using anger as a way to give myself some measure of power back in my life, or even to put some distance between myself and God.  Does this make any sense?

“Well, yes, I believe it does.  I believe I understand precisely what you’re saying.  You’re being passive-aggressive with God, Ronnie.  More importantly, however, is do you understand what you’re saying?  After all, that’s the most important thing.”

“I believe I do,” continued Ronnie.  “I’m just not sure what to make of this battle that’s raging inside my head.  What I’m saying is, when I really stop and think about what I believe to be true, that is, on the deepest level, I don’t really think that God has it in for me.  Sure, He may send trials my way to help mold me into who He wants me to be – I’ve always been taught that – but deep down I guess I believe that He has my best interests in mind.

Ronnie paused for a moment, lost in thought.  The doctor chose not to interrupt this time.  “But you know,” he continued while staring at the floor, “what really bothers me I guess is that even though God may not be sending these things my way directly, why doesn’t He do something about preventing those things that do happen to me?  I understand that these things may come into my life for a purpose, but I simply can’t get past the fact that I feel like a lab rat in a maze caught up in some kind of experiment that I’ll never understand the purpose of.  It’s like I see God as a scientist, off to the side looking over the top of his glasses.  He’s watching His subject intently as it struggles to make sense of its surroundings and find the end of the maze.  There may be a purpose to it, but it is so far beyond the grasp of the rat that it makes no difference.”

Ronnie paused again and looked up at Dr. Melling.  “Am I the only one who’s ever felt like this?  Does this make me a bad person?”

The doctor answered, “Well, Ronnie, I’ve been doing this a long time.  I see all kinds of people come through here.  Many of them are Christians with doubts such as yourself, many others don’t know what they believe, or they’ve believed something for so long it’s become a part of them but now they realize they have no idea why they believe it.  I’d have to say, no, you’re not the first person to have ever felt this way, to have had these sort of thoughts.  Questions and doubts are a natural part of being a human being.  We all have them.  We’ll never have the answers to all our questions this side of eternity.  And I’m not sure we’ll even have them then.”

“That’s good to know,” Ronnie said.  “I just wish I knew how to deal with all this.”

“Tell me this,” said Dr. Melling.  “What do you think God thinks about you?  Do you think He’s pleased with you?   With your actions?   Do you think He loves you anyway, no matter whether your actions are pleasing or not?”

to be continued…