Philippians 1:20-22 (NLT) For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better.
What do you expect? Expectation is what we look forward to as likely to happen. It is the outlook of our life based on what we believe to be possible. Anticipation of the future and of what is to come. To expect is to consider the future according to reason or justification. Those who fully expect and hope in the Lord will never be ashamed. Yet I struggle on a daily basis to keep my full expectation secure by hope that is fully confident in Jesus Christ, my Lord. Maybe you do too…
Sunday evenings are filled with expectation. Monday is just a night’s sleep away. I have some expectations today. I am planning to get up early and spend time with the Lord. I will get ready for work. My intention is to pack up my youngest daughter and drop her off on the way. I will leave a little early to go to a doctor’s appointment. After that, I will head to the house to prepare dinner and do a load of laundry. I am anticipating the return of my husband from a hunting trip. I hope to spend the remainder of the evening curled up on the couch with my IPad and little fur baby sleeping on my lap. I know that these are all reasonable expectations based on my routine and scheduled events. But I believe God is calling me to greater expectation then that of an ordinary life. He invites me to consider an even bigger purpose then that of woman, wife, mother, employee and patient. To consider the impossibilities of tomorrow and think about a future of forever rather than in increments of a moment, day, week, month or year. To broaden my perspective of the here and now to eternity with Him.
Each day there is a basket of expectations on our arm when the sun rises and the day begins. Setting out on this journey called life, there are many obstacles, hindrances and trials to be faced which can certainly be overcome if one is willing to release the fruit of human expectation to receive the Spirit of Expectation that comes from the Fruit of the Spirit. Jesus invites us to yoke our life with Him so that He can carry our burdens and empower us to live empowered existences. How many times do refuse to release our will, way and words contradictory to His Way, His Wil and His Word? Today the Lord invites us to let go of human ideas, notions and thoughts to take a step higher considering the view from the top. To see our life as God sees it, planned it and provided for it. To stop using our expectation for what is inevitable to take hold of hope in that is bold and confident – life changing and Kingdom building.
2 Kings 5:9-14 (NLT) So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.
Every time I read the story of Naaman, I am convicted to my core. Naaman was an army commander. God gave King Aram great victories through him. Naaman was a mighty warrior, but he suffered from leprosy. We all have something a condition, a mindset, a problem or even a sickness to overcome. There is a victory just out of reach that will require more than our personal ability and rely solely on our dependency on God through Jesus Christ. Pride may tell you otherwise but like the little women with an issue she could not overcome – something will drive us to our knees that brings us to the hem of His Beautiful Garment. Anyway…
One day a young girl given to Naaman’s wife as a servant said to her, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of leprosy.” So she shared this information with her husband who went to King Aram. The king sent a letter of introduction with a large gift to the King of Israel asking him to heal Naaman. The King of Israel read the letter and was distraught. Fear struck him that it was a trick and there could be a war. Elisha heard of his king’s dilemma and said, “Why are you upset? Send Naaman to me and he will learn that there is a true prophet in Israel.” So here we are now.
Of note, the young girl did not say go to kings and government but rather go to the prophet. How many detours did Naaman take to get there already? How many distractions lead me from the King of Kings? When I decide to seek from the world what only the Lord can do for me, my expectation will not be met? It will only lead to disappointment. Finally Naaman made it to the prophet who would not come out to see the esteemed commander but gave him simple instructions. “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” Naaman made a grand appearance on the doorstep of Elisha to be told to go wash in the dirtiest river in the town. Naaman did not expect such an event or occurrence. He expected the prophet to wave his hand over him and he would be healed. “So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.” Freeze frame…stop for just a minute and consider all that happened so far.
Human pride and logic are not beneficial when seeking anything from God. In fact, our emotions can often keep us from realizing godly expectation. Humility before the Lord is a requirement to exchange ordinary results for supernatural experiences. God is not satisfied with just healing our body, making our life a little better or short term results. He is planting seeds of righteousness to grow into true repentance, soul satisfaction and completion in you His Masterpiece. Naaman wanted God to meet his expectation – his way. God will never lower His Glorious Standard to meet my meager expectation.
2 Kings 5:13-15 (NLT) But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed! Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”
Thank you Lord for the messengers. Those regular people placed in our everyday life to offer encouragement and direction when our spirit will not listen or obey. You know the saying, “the bigger they are the harder they fall.” Naaman was a man of authority. He gave orders to his men and they did what he said out of obedience. He was not comfortable with the role of servant. To listen and obey doing it God’s Way rather than his own. It almost cost him the one thing that he desired the most. Is pride keeping you from living a life of expectation? Are there opportunities for faith to become confident hope overlooked by the Lord’s method called humility? I am going to tiptoe and limp away from this passage as I know some of you might too…
Matthew 11:2-6 (NLT) John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me.”
“Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting or should we keep looking for someone else? Who would have thought that John the Baptist would have questioned the very one who he proclaimed to be coming and now was here? John was in prison. He could smell the stench of death approaching and his hopes were fading in the dingy cell. Life didn’t turn out as he expected so he called out to the Lord. Is it really you? He is not alone in his wondering and wandering. Blessed are those who believe without seeing is tough to a creature driven by its five senses to survive. When life does not meet my expectation, it is not because Jesus is not who He said that is or has proven be but my failure to believe without seeing.
The Messiah was not as they expected so many never answered the call. The Lord already told us that His Ways are higher than our ways and His Thoughts up there, too. Yet human nature bases most of its anticipation on today, tomorrow, next week or next year. We plan for retirement but do not think about the day we die. If we do, it is in funeral planning and expenses not in resurrection life. “We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
I Peter 1:3-5 (NLT) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
Faith can only take me as far as I am willing to trust Jesus Christ. The momentum of faith is confident hope. It must be secured in the Lord to secure my soul forever. This is my great expectation. It is through trials and tests that my faith is refined and other lesser expectation is removed. This makes room for confident hope that through faith gives me entrance to the Presence of God and ability to experience Heaven on earth. God’s Will for my life is His Glory to be manifested in all things. I must hope for Him and trust the Lord for this to become a reality of faith.
Does hope really matter? Absolutely. Hope in the Lord will keep me from those deliberate and willful sins that keep me from Eternity. (Hebrews 10:26-29) Confident hope puts my faith and hope in Christ alone through a series of choices when I must decide at the crossroads of life who to trust. Divided loyalty is not Kingdom stability therefore worth nothing at all to me in the future. (James 1:6-8) I must learn to put all my faith, hope and trust in the Lord so I may be found “in” Christ when it matters most.
I Peter 1:6-9 (NLT) So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
What do you expect? What do you anticipate for your life today and in the future? Does your life reflect such trust and devotion? If you have decided to seek eternal life through Jesus Christ, are you fully invested in pursuing the Lord? Are you willing to give up your way? To push past pride? To do whatever it takes to come to Him boldly each day handing over your expectation to have His Way? See many of us are like Naaman, who when God didn’t do it his way, almost missed his blessing completely. Has God given you simple instructions that require a total sacrifice of pride? Are you willing to make it? Giving up our way is hard. Devoting our desires to the Lord and trusting Him to meet them is hard when our five senses cannot perceive the reality of our faith. Faith is not blind. Faith means pursuing the Lord including His Way, His Will and His Word in Spirit and Truth every day. Even those days when nothing goes right or maybe we think God is asking too much. To place all of our expectation in Jesus Christ is to discover full satisfaction. If you do not have perfect peace and inexpressible joy, there might be a hidden holdout in your heart that must be laid at His Feet again. It will be worth it. Expect the Lord today. Expect His Voice to speak to you. His Spirit to instruct and guide you. His Goodness to overtake you. His Unfailing Love to surround you. Let the Lord fill you with greater expectation today. After all, He will do more than you can even think to ask. This is the Source of Life called confident hope.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT) Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.