"Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." Ephesians 3:20.  This verse reveals that very few people tap into the tremendous resources that God has made available to them and that no human appropriates the full measure of what God is willing and able to do. In effect, God is telling us, "Think of the greatest thing you can imagine and I can top that!"

So how do we tap into God’s great power? Jesus gave the answer to that question when He said to a blind man, "…According to your faith let it be to you." Matthew 9:29. The key that unlocks all that God is willing and able to do for each of us is faith. Notice that Jesus says we get to choose how much God blesses us out of His resources. "According to your faith let it be to you!" Some Bible scholars refer to this principle as "The Law of Expectations". Most people have expectations based on the family they were born into; the social class in which they grow up and the opportunities and challenges of life. God says that any of us can rise above our fondest expectations when we base our expectations on God by faith.


There are two basic approaches to life. We can choose to live by doubt and fear or we can choose to live by faith. Living by doubt and fear turns us into a pessimist. Living by faith turn us into an optimist.

Job is the prime example of a pessimist.
When suffering and loss came upon Job part of his response was, "For the thing I greatly  feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me."  Job 3:25. Job was saying, "This terrible experience is what I’ve been fearing and dreading all along." Job focused on what he didn’t want to come into his life rather than having great expectations from God. His pessimism turn into a self fulfilling prophecy.

The apostle Paul is the prime example of an optimist
      . After being a prisoner for over two years and waiting the decision of Caesar as to whether he lives or dies, he writes the Christians at Philippi, "For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body..."  Philippians 1:19, 20. Notice that Paul was not saying, "I have great expectations because everything is going great and I have a fabulous retirement plan." Paul was saying that he had great expectations from God the whole time he was going through severe trial.

     Whether you are going through great trials or experiencing the greatest victories of your life is not what’s most important. Before his trials came Job had been living the most fabulous life a man can live, but even then, he had been living in dread and fear. All of a sudden, boom! What he feared and dreaded came upon him in a full force. The apostle Paul’s ministry never was a bed of roses, but the whole time he had great expectations from God by faith. As a result his whole life was a journey of God empowered accomplishments in the midst of difficult trials. What’s most important is our basic approach to life. Are we facing life with doubt and fear or with great expectations because our faith is in God?

great expectations because of our faith in God results in three things:

  • It honors God
  • It increases our ability
  • It encourages others.

     This is clearly illustrated in the story of David and Goliath. When every soldier in the army of Israel was facing a showdown with Goliath in doubt and fear David was telling King Saul "Let no man's heart fail because of him …" 1st Samuel 17:32. David confidently approached the giant, Goliath and said to him."…This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, …for the battle is the LORD'S and He will give you into our hands" 1st Samuel 17:46, 47. David was saying loud and clear that great expectations based on faith in God bring honor to God."

     The second thing that great expectations based on faith in God does is it increases our ability. Others were looking at the giant, Goliath, in doubt and fear and saying, "He's too big. We can't kill him." David looked at the giant with faith in God and said, "He's so big I can't miss!"

     The third thing that great expectations based on faith in God does is that it encourages others. Some have noted that David picked up five small stones from the brook and concluded, "That shows that David had some doubt that he could defeat Goliath with one stone. No. Goliath had four brothers (2nd Samuel 21:19-24). David was just making preparations in case he had to deal with them. The result was that "…the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines…"  1st Samuel 17:52. When those who are fearful and doubtful see the power of great expectations based on faith in God they get encouraged.

   So how do we change from approaching life with fear and doubt to approaching life with great expectations based on faith in God?


start THE day in faith.

    A man was asking a group of people, "Do you wake up grouchy in the morning?" One answered, "No, I usually let her sleep." There are people who are just not morning people. However, most of us subject ourselves to so much negative information right after we get up that it gives us a negative approach to life for the rest of the day. All radio and TV news in the morning ought to be called "Bad Morning America".

     Let's take some good advice from David when he wrote, "My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord, In the morning I will direct it to You and I will look up."   Psalm 5:3

     It is good if you can begin with reading or hearing the word of God, but at the least, lift your prayers to God about what you are expecting from Him that day and be on the lookout for God's answers all day long. Studies have shown that the first ten minutes of each day sets the tone for the whole day.

look for the good in every situation.

      There are things that come into our lives that are not good in and of themselves. But, as believers, we know that God allows bad things to come into our lives because of the good that will come out of it. God has given us that assurance in Romans 8:28 as plainly as words can say it. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."  God specializes in bringing good out of bad. Look for the good in every situation.

give our problems to God.

     There are times when even the most mature Christians are tempted to approach difficult situations with fear and doubt. These times usually come when the Christian is blindsided with the threat of catastrophic disaster. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about just such a situation he had experienced in Asia: "For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our troubles  which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened beyond measure , above strength, so that we despaired even of life  Yes,  we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us;  in  whom we trust that He will still deliver us." 2nd Corinthians 1:8-10. Paul doesn't tell what this threat to his life was, but it must have been a real lulu. In 1st Corinthians 15:32 he alludes to fighting with wild beasts at Ephesus. Whatever this threat was, it got Paul's attention at first and he focused on it to the point of despairing of life. But then his faith focused on His God Who is able to raise the dead if need be and turned his humanly hopeless situation over to God…and God delivered him. A lesson that come through is that when fear and doubt grip a believer who knows better, the chances are almost 100% that the believer has assumed responsibility for something only God can handle. This is the time to say "Whoa! I'm turning this over to God.!"

Eliminate Negative Words.

     What happens when you keep saying, "I feel so tired." Or I think I'm getting sick" or "That's the most depressing news I've ever heard." You wind up like the hypochondriac who prepared in advance to have "I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK" written on her tombstone.

     Words are powerful for good and for bad. The 3rd chapter of James reminds us that although the tongue is a small member there is almost no limit to the damage it can do. Have we said to others, "You'll never amount to anything" or "You'll never change" or "You'll never be able to do that." If so, you were programming them for failure. Don't do it to yourself and don't do it to others.

Associate with positive people.

     Avoid hanging out with negative, scornful people. "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful!" Psalm 1:1. "Evil company corrupts good habits" 1st Corinthians 15:33.

     Pessimism is contagious but so is faith. Fly with the eagles instead of walking with the turkeys. Be on the lookout for people who have great expectations because of their faith in God and spend as much time with them as you can. For those who are people of faith, remember that Paul wrote such one as you and exhorted, "…But be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity."  1st Timothy 4:12.


     No matter how negative our environment or how great our trials Christians know there is one more chapter to be written and it will be fabulous beyond our fondest dreams. The promises of God are clear. Although we know not when Jesus is going to come in the sky and catch up His people to Himself (See 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18). The dead in Christ will be raised and glorified. Living believers will be changed and caught up with them. Believers will be welcomed into the presence of the Lord with honor that only God can give. Ponder these words of Peter in 2nd Peter 1:11  "…An entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.". Our minds are boggled as we read about fervent worship…the marriage supper of the Lamb…victorious reigning with Christ as king, and a new heaven, a new earth and a new Jerusalem.

     The most humble believer who has great expectations because of their faith in God will not be disappointed.

     Some of you have been looking at the potential threats of the coming week with doubt and fear. I encourage you to make a great change in your approach to life by having great expectations from God because of your faith in Him.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted

    Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.