"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.
TWO APPROACHES TO LIFE
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.
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.
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
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
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
So how do we change from approaching life with
fear and doubt to approaching life with great expectations based
on faith in God?
SIX WAYS THAT HELP MAINTAIN GREAT EXPECTATIONS FROM GOD
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."
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
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
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
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
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
KEEP YOUR EYES ON HIM
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.