John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. John 3:27
If you took geometry in school, you may recall working through proofs. At the beginning, before you begin to line out a strategy for attacking the problem, you have a set of pre-conditions, a set of givens. These are your starting points. The things you know for certain. Then you work step-by-step from those givens, incorporating other things you know for certain, the theorems and so forth, until you arrive at the solution, the proof. (Hopefully I didn’t stir up any bad memories.)
While I’m very thankful that life is NOT a geometry proof, it is essential to understand that as believers, we operate with a set of givens. They are so much better than a list of theorems and postulates. These are things God has given us. No matter what we come up against, these need to be our starting points. These are things we know for certain.
1. We have eternal life.
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 1 John 5:11
We have so much more than what we see around us.
2. We have the Holy Spirit.
And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him. Acts 5:32
We are never alone. God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit lives not just with us, but in us. He sees and He knows exactly what we’re going through.
3. We have an understanding of Christ.
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20
Maybe not full understanding, but we know enough to grasp that Jesus loved us and wanted us with Him forever, and He was willing to go to the most extreme lengths for us.
4. We have everlasting consolation and good hope.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace. 2 Thessalonians 2:16
Consolation is comfort. And it’s everlasting. I like to think of it not just lasting forever with respect to time, but never running out. Not only that, but good hope, a confidence that there is more to come and it is better.
5. We have a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
We are not helpless, but we are able to accurately assess our situations in light of who we are in Christ and then respond, not out of fear but out of love for others, like the love Christ has shown us.
6. We have all things that pertain to life and godliness.
As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 2 Peter 1:3
We have all the resources we need to live the life God has called us to.
7. We have great and precious promises.
By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:4
Not just the promise of eternal life, but promises that He’ll never leave us, and that He hears us.
Whatever it is, wherever you are, start with these givens. They’ll lead you from your questions and doubts to what you know and finally to the One who knows all.