Matthew and I sat down to have a conversation earlier this week. As we began to discuss the details of a project we were working on, our conversation rapidly gained a tension. Not quite sure why we were experiencing tension, we paused and re-routed ourselves. Matthew wisely suggested that we only continue discussing details after we had both shared our expectations for the project. As we shared we realized we had greatly differing expectations in the important areas of approach, timeline, and even content. After discovering the chasm between our expectations, we agreed to discuss them before getting into any details.
HELP! I MARRIED A SINNER!
Not too long after we discovered the crucial role of expectations in regard to project management, something much more personal came up between us. We came to a place where we were face to face with the ugliness and darkness of sin. Now, it may seem all too obvious to realize we are all sinners. What’s more, it should come as no surprise that there is sin in marriage. Yet, when we were faced with an unexpected sin, our expectations of ourselves and each other were exposed and shattered.
One of our favorite movies to watch is Sabrina (1995). In one scene there is a conversation between the budding heroine and her stylish mentor. They are discussing Sabrina’s growth and the object of Sabrina’s affection, the handsome, free-spirited David.
Irene: But someone is in the way? Is it this David, you mentioned casually, forty-or fifty-times, when you first came over? He sounds perhaps like an illusion.
Sabrina: He keeps me company…
Irene: You think so? Illusions are dangerous people. They have no flaws.
Like illusions, certain expectations can be dangerous. Consider this in light of the fact that we are predispositioned to have expectations in every circumstance and relationship. What we expect, or what we believe, dictates almost everything we think and do in life.
We know belief is powerful. In that, the questions arise…What should I expect? What does the world expect? What does God expect? How do I expect the Kingdom?
∞Identifying our expectations of the world, people, and things is usually easy. They are vibrantly reflected in what we read, watch, say, and think. Most of our choices and investments are made to align with our ultimate expectations and desires. However, identifying expectations of ourselves can be challenging. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” The process of finding out what we really think can only happen by asking God to reveal what is in our hearts to us. So, when we’re ready for the truth, we will ask God.
∞Most of us do not consider the very earth we stand on, the ground that feeds us, and the atmosphere we breathe in as having an expectation. The Bible tells us they do.
For the whole creation hopes for and expects the revelation of the sons of God. Romans 8:19
While there is much we can do to consider the earth (recycle, minimize our carbon footprint, invest in solar energy, etc.), satisfying its expectation for RESToration is only possible as the sons of God are revealed in it.
∞ I do not presume to know all of God’s expectations. Yet, through scripture, some of them are made quite clear. Some of His expectations are:
TO BE OUR CHAMPION: 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His.”
TO BUILD A CITY WITH US: Ezekiel 22:30, “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.”
TO SEE MAN GIVE HIMSELF: Isaiah 59:16, “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him.”
Simply, God expects Christ…and more than that, Christ in us. He longs for the heart yielded. He desires hands of restoration. He expects a life sacrificed.
Here are a few ways to help align our expectations with God’s and stay expectant for the Kingdom.
ASK GOD: Ask Him to reveal what’s in your heart. Invite God into your expectations. Out of intimacy with Him, selfish expectations are transformed and purified. As His presence sanctifies us, we begin to believe the revelation of the person of God. In that belief, we emerge as sons and reflect the manifest Kingdom in the earth.
HAVE FAITH: When asking God, inviting God, believing God, and letting God is in accordance with the measure of faith we have been given, nothing is impossible. Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
WAIT & WATCH: Abraham’s measure of faith was matched with a promise greater than he could have ever imagined. In that, he was asked to believe and wait to see the fruit of God’s promise. When our expectations are good, they will bear good fruit. Matthew 7:17, “So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.”
The topic of expectation is much too big to do justice in a single blog. What is safe, though, is to promise that if we expect God’s Kingdom, we will not be disappointed.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:7
For encouragement LISTEN to Worth It All – Rita Springer