EXPECTATIONS – WHAT SHOULD THEY BE?
We saw last week that what we believe determines what we expect. We also referred to Paul’s instruction to the Roman Church to not be conformed to the pattern of this world, BUT, be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Let’s apply this directly to a basic Bible truth. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) This would arguably be the most well-known and quoted verse of the Bible. The core issue is what we believe! And not just about the overall verse, but about God, about love about Jesus and about believing.
Because this is a Christian blog on a Christian website I am going to assume we all believe in God and Jesus. But what we believe about them and what they say is critical.
Some 20 years ago I had a young married woman come seek some ministry. At the time I was using a particular method of counsel that helped to expose the lies we believe. This woman was raised in a good Christian home with loving parents. But because of certain circumstances (experiences) relating to her Mum working, the enemy had deceived her into believing she was not loved. She had been exposed to God’s word in her home, in Sunday school, in Church, and she believed in God and Jesus and God’s word. She believed God loved others but not her. Here is the problem, you cannot truly believe opposite things! The Lord ministered truth to her and she was set free from the power of that lie.
Many people struggle to walk in the blessing of God because their beliefs and hence their expectations are contrary to what God has said. This results in them allowing their previous experiences to nullify the Word of God.
I want to move to considering the previous topics I discussed, those of Love and Unity. Very few, if any of us grew up seeing the command to love or the call to unity being fruitfully expressed in our congregations, far less the Church of the city or region. As a result our experiences molded a belief that these things must be for a future time (but not possible for us now). We struggle to believe it is possible to love one another as Christ loved us. Consequently there is no expectation for the love and unity Christ not only spoke of but also indeed commanded and prayed for to become a reality. Subsequently our behavior doesn’t change and we continue to experience Christian life in an exclusive, segregated way, with no vision (expectation) for a united Church full of love.
The renewing of our minds requires us to agree with and embrace God’s word. But it also requires us to repent of disagreeing with God, and to renounce the lies that are contrary to what God has said. We need also to ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with God’s love (Romans 5:5), and continue to be filled by the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18). When our beliefs change our behavior and expectations will also change.