When it comes to expectations, there is often a thin line between genuine fulfillment and intense frustration. Full of passion and power, expectations inform our approach to every area of life, including relationships, church, politics and our own personal development. They can propel us toward great joy—or into great devastation. The difference-maker isn't whether or not our expectations are met; rather, it is where our expectations come from. Is it the world or the Word of God?
Left to our own devices, many of us allow our expectations to be shaped by a variety of sources:
—Our own desires and wishes.
Trying to get all those expectations met is a precarious balancing act with no safety net. When we manage to stay on the tightrope, life feels exhilarating and joyful. When we fall, the ground is hard and comes fast. This reality contributes to the emotionally charged nature of expectations.
With stakes so high, it makes sense that we would fight hard to have our expectations met and stay on the wire.
It takes training and faith to establish expectations on the foundation of God's Word and His Holy Spirit presence in our lives, but it is worth it. Without Spirit-led expectations, we will not successfully live out God's promises in our life or be able to help lead others to Jesus, the strong and faithful Son of God.
The Bible gives us a great starter list of expectations to hold as we journey through life and ministry: When we are sick, we should expect to be healed (Ex. 15:26, Isa. 53:5). When we don't have enough finances, we should expect God to meet all of our needs (Phil. 4:19, Matt. 6:26-34). When we aren't sure about a decision that needs to be made, we should expect God to give us wisdom and direction (Isa. 30:21; Ps. 32:8, 119:105). When our circumstances seem bleak, we should trust that God has a plan and purpose for our life (Phil. 1:6, Jer. 29:11, Prov. 3:5-6).
At first, this is easier said than done. Faith, however, is like a muscle. It grows stronger the more it is exercised. The more you exercise your faith, the easier it will be to cling to Spirit-led expectations and trust God to fulfill them when circumstances and relationships are challenging.
First Corinthians 13:9 (NLT) says, "Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!" God sees the whole picture when we cannot, so despite what has happened in the past, He is always good, always faithful and always true. Don't let past disappointments shift the source of your expectation away from the Holy Spirit and discourage you from living for, hearing from, trusting in and surrendering to God now.
If we want to be pleasing to God, if we want to be the pastors, ministers and leaders He has called us to be, we have no other option but to live by faith. Hebrews 10:38 (MEV) reminds us of a stark truth: "Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him." We may not know exactly where He is leading us at first or how everything will work out, but if we're following Him, we will have the assurance that we're going somewhere miraculous.
Our expectations for our lives pale in comparison to His plan. God wants to do something uniquely fresh in each one of us; something bigger than we could ever imagine or complete without His help. He knows the beginning from the end, and we know things only in part, so when we make the purposeful decision to have His Word be our expectation and make Him our source in all things, there is no doubt that we will be closer to Him and living fuller, happier lives than ever before.
Trust God today to establish your expectations and fulfill them, and be filled with Holy Spirit expectancy!
You're beautiful. I see Jesus in you.
Have a great week!
Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the book of hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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